Last of the five GHHS girls to return home

On March 16, five Grand Haven High School girls were injured in a horrific crash. This week, the last of the girls still hospitalized, Brittney Olds, is scheduled to come home.
Becky Vargo
Jun 12, 2012


“We’re ecstatic for the progress of each one of the girls,” said Keith Konarska, superintendent of Grand Haven Area Public Schools. “We can’t say thanks enough to all of the community for not only supporting the girls and their families, but the school district as well.”

Olds continues to defy the odds, according to family updates on her hospital Care Page.

A June 2 update on Olds, posted on the Prayers for 5 Grand Haven High School Students Facebook page, celebrates the news that Olds is expected to be released Friday from Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Center in Grand Rapids. A week earlier, it was reported that Olds had her neck brace and feeding tube removed, and she “was eating great.”

Olds has made a couple of trips to Grand Haven recently and was able to get together with the other four girls, who have all had a long journey to recovery themselves.

A picture of the girls posted on the Prayer Page on June 3 noted: “This is what miracles and the power of prayer look like! Today was the first day all five girls were together since March 16 and it was an amazing site to see smiles and laughter again. Thank you to all who pray and support our girls, families and community!”

This summer, Olds will continue working with a teacher who specializes in brain injuries. Her sister, Marni, “has committed to take on the role of ‘full-time sister, AKA caretaker,'" the Care Page entry noted.

Meanwhile, authorities have not yet made a decision on whether or not any charges will be filed in connection with the car crash.

The Kent County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is still waiting for reports “to figure what, if anything, we are going to do with it,” Assistant Prosecutor James Benison said May 29. Once officials receive the final missing pieces, he said they will review the reports.

“It could be a couple weeks to a couple months for a determination,” Benison said earlier this month.

The girls — Emily Bogner, Madison Case, Hannah DeVecht, Dani Michaels and Brittney Olds — were headed to a girls’ semifinal basketball game in East Lansing when the Honda CRV that Michaels was driving went off the road, hit a cable guard rail and rolled over into the opposite lanes of Interstate 96, east of the Lowell exit. Bogner, Case and Olds were thrown from the vehicle when it rolled. Michaels was able to get out of the vehicle on her own. DeVecht was pinned in and extricated by firefighters.

All five girls were taken by ambulance to Grand Rapids-area hospitals. Michaels and DeVecht were released from the hospital that weekend. Bogner and Case spent an extended time in the hospital, but were able to return home and attend school on a part-time basis.

Olds suffered the most serious injuries. She initially had to be placed into a medically induced coma to allow her brain time to heal.

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