Fruitport man killed in 1-car crash

(UPDATED: Saturday, 6:05 p.m.) Police said a 48-year-old Fruitport man has died in a one-car crash in a rural area outside Nunica.
Becky Vargo
Jul 14, 2012


Randall Dale VanKoevering died at the scene.

VanKoevering's Buick Regal rolled over into a ravine off 96th Avenue, south of Taft Street at an unknown time during the night, said Sgt. Kevin Allman of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

A neighbor saw the car in the ravine this morning and called 911 at about 9 a.m., said Allman. The car's engine was cold to the touch when authorities arrived on the scene, Allman said, so it is likely the crash happened at least several hours before it was reported.

Neighbor Ed A. Schmidt, who lives down the road from the crash scene, said he's often seen that car go by, but didn't know the driver. 

"Deer cross here all the time," he said pointing to a deer trail on each side of the road. "I wonder if he swerved."

Schmidt said he did not hear the accident and did not know about it until emergency vehicles arrived on the scene.

Allman said the blue vehicle was traveling north on 96th Avenue, went off the right shoulder of the road, apparently over-corrected and went off the opposite side of the road, went airborne for about 100 feet, hit an embankment and overturned onto its roof. The car was found upside-down near the bottom of the ravine. VanKoevering was not wearing a seatbelt, Allman said.

Medical examiner Bob Tovey, pronounced the man deceased, and said an autopsy would be performed on Monday at Holland Hospital.

Another neighbor, Rodger VanderJagt, whose driveway is just up the hill from the ravine, said he's lived there for 25 years and the only other time he can remember a crash there was several years ago when a parked car rolled down into the ravine on the east side of the road. 

VanderJagt said the driver had parked the vehicle, then gone down into the ravine to check some traps. He had forgotten to set the brake and the car rolled down. Nobody was injured in that incident.

Crockery Township firefighters blocked off 96th Avenue between Taft and State roads for more than two hours while the crash was being investigated.

A tow truck from John's Towing pulled the vehicle out of the ravine and firefighters had to pry open the doors before the man's body could be removed.



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