Steven Paul Spencer will be arraigned June 29 in Muskegon County District Court on a charge of operating while intoxicated, causing death, Nolan said. If convicted, Spencer could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison and pay a fine in the range of $2,500 to $10,000.
Spencer was originally to be arraigned on the charge Monday morning, but bonded out of jail and the arraignment was set for a later date, Nolan said. Bond was set at $25,000.
John Shumaker, 37, was killed in the head-on collision Saturday afternoon, just a few miles west of Ravenna. Shumaker and his 10-year-old daughter, Madison, were going home from a softball game in Conklin at the time of the 4:18 p.m. crash.
Madison escaped serious injury. Spencer suffered minor injuries.
Police said Spencer was eastbound in his pickup truck on Heights-Ravenna Road, attempted to pass a slow-moving vehicle near Ensley Street, lost control of his truck on the wet road and struck the Shumaker car head-on.
Spencer admitted to police he had smoked marijuana about five hours before the crash, Nolan said. But “he won’t show the presence of any alcohol in his blood,” the attorney added.
Spencer’s good attitude and honesty were attributes that brothers Mike and Jeffrey Jawor said convinced them that he was a good hire for their blueberry business outside of Ravenna.
“Steve started working here in April,” Mike Jawor said. “He’s a nice kid and everything. There were no problems. He seemed to catch on to things pretty fast.”
Spencer drove tractors and sprayed the blueberries, and his work ethic was good, Jeffrey Jawor said.
“He’s energetic about his job,” Jeffrey Jawor said. “He seemed to like coming here.”
Mike Jawor said Spencer told him upfront that he had a couple of convictions for being a minor in possession of alcohol. But he said Spencer told him, “I kind of grew out of that kind of stuff.”
Spencer had one minor in possession charge in Ottawa County in 2005 and one in Muskegon County in 2008, court records show.
The Jawor brothers said Spencer worked hard to learn the job at their business, and that his job was on hold until the facts of the crash were revealed. If it is determined that he was driving under the influence — whether it is alcohol or drugs — he would likely lose his job, the Jawors said.
The Jawors expressed their condolences to everyone involved.
“It’s a tragedy,” Jeffrey said. “We feel bad for the people on both sides of it.”
Just down the street from the Spencer home, Susan Gilbert, a secretary at the United Methodist Church of Ravenna, said a lot of people in town were praying for Steven and his family.
“It’s so very sad … that one instance has changed the lives of two families now,” she said. “You just pray that they can come through this.”
Gilbert said her nephew was a friend of Spencer's, and they were more likely to go to someone’s house and work on cars than go to a party or a bar.
“People have a lot of good to say about (Steven),” she said. “I know his brother well — just the kind of kids they are and how they were raised.
“No matter what the court does to you, you live with it the rest of your life,” Gilbert added. “Even jail doesn’t punish you as much as you punish yourself."
Members of Spencer’s family were approached. Although they declined to comment, they did supply a photo of their son taken the previous year. They referred any questions to their attorney.