Charges filed in fiery 2011 crash on Sternberg Road

(UPDATE: 11:10 a.m. Wednesday) Tom DeVournsey was replaced as Shape Corp. president in November 2011 by Robert Currier, according to a press release from the company's owner, Gary VerPlank.
Becky Vargo
Jun 13, 2012

DeVoursney continues to act in an advisory role and still serves on the company's Board of Directors.

"The situation with Mr. DeVoursney is very unfortunate," VerPlank said. "The DeVoursney and Wilson families have suffered significantly since the incident."

VerPlank stated that the situation with DeVoursmey was a personal matter and that the company would have no further comment.

The former president of Shape Corp. in Grand Haven was charged with a felony Tuesday in connection with a September 2011 crash.

Police said Tom DeVoursney was driving a sports car at high speed when he crashed it into a utility pole in Norton Shores, seriously injuring himself and a passenger.

DeVoursney was charged with reckless driving/causing serious bodily injury. The Norton Shores man pleaded not guilty when arraigned Tuesday morning in Muskegon County District Court.

DeVoursney, 53, faces up to five years in prison if convicted of the charge, Prosecuting Attorney Tony Tague said.

DeVoursney was released on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to return to court on July 23 for a preliminary examination. He was also ordered by Judge Andrew Wierengo to enter Muskegon County’s Zero Tolerance program, which requires him to be tested for drugs and alcohol while out on bond.

Norton Shores Police Chief Dan Shaw said DeVoursney was driving his rare Ford GT on Sternberg Road, west of U.S. 31, on Sept. 18. Witnesses said the car passed another vehicle and swerved to avoid a westbound car that was turning into a private drive near the G&L restaurant, Shaw said for an earlier story. The sports car skidded across all five lanes of West Sternberg Road and hit a utility pole, causing the vehicle to break into pieces and catch on fire, Shaw said.

Other drivers in the area were able to get DeVoursney and his passenger, Anthony Wilson, from the vehicle, Shaw said.
The chief said he could see smoke from the fire miles away at the time.

Both men were taken to Grand Rapids hospitals, where DeVoursney was initially reported to be in critical condition. Reports were not available on Wilson’s condition at the time.

Calls to officials at Shape Corp. and to Wilson at his Muskegon office were not returned as of late Tuesday afternoon.

Tague said the charge against DeVoursney was authorized because “we have numerous witnesses who said he went through a high traffic area at a very excessive rate of speed. He placed many people’s lives in danger.”

The prosecuting attorney said the reason it took so long to issue a charge was because officials were waiting for a toxicology report from the state police.

“Because there was no death involved, it was lower priority,” Tague said.

Shaw said the toxicology report revealed that there were no drugs in DeVoursney’s system, other than the ones paramedics gave him at the scene.

Shaw said the police department’s accident reconstruction report was also turned over to the state police for verification.

“It was a complicated crash to reconstruct,” Shaw said.

Help was also requested because of the kind of car involved in the crash.

“It was a street-legal race car," Shaw said. "They react differently."
 

Comments

truthhurts

i hope he gets jail time. This guy is the biggest corpate slime bag of them all! His mentality shows with his not guilty plea.

Howard191

I can think of several different corporate slime bags, and knowing Tom personally, I can't really count him in those ranks. Unless you really know him, why not try lightening up on your comments.

truthhurts

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines

Howard191

Having known Tom for several years now, I find it difficult that he would do anything maliciously, to anyone. Although the plea does seem a bit awkward, I really feel as far as the current charges are concerned its the correct way to go.

truthhurts

go read the majority of the comments on mlive about this guy,.... not good.

MeanSmith

They are probably just jealous subordinates, drug tests came out clean as a whistle...

tednugent4pres

what an prick! crash an amazing car like that.

MeanSmith

I agree with that!!

your mother

kind of weird how it said no drugs were in his system but it didnt even mention alcohol. i would have to assume it was a factor if they didnt say it wasnt.

ohwell

Speed was the biggest issue with the accident. He is just lucky there were people around to pull him and his passenger out of the car. I hope they throw the book at him for his negligence. Total lack of judgement on his part, trying to "show" off for his passenger. He need to pay for his stupidity. I don't want to hear he has suffered enough from his injuries from the accident either. He needs to suffer by paying huge fines and doing jail time. Give him time to think about his stupid decision to go fast that day. The simple fact that it is illegal, and he picked the worst possible place to go fast.

BTL2A

Be interesting to see what the response would be if instead of a balding 53 year old man it was a pretty 17 year old girl.

DKS523

Very true!

MeanSmith

Everyone would say 'that poor girl! Just because she was texting and facebooking while driving is a totally unfair accusation of why she crashed!! shame on you all!!!'

freddy99

I definitely think that charges needed to happen with this accident. They were definitely in the wrong and needed to be charged. I really hate this happened.
f1 tickets

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