Crash details emerge

A 24-year-old Ravenna man is scheduled to go on trial in October for the June 16 crash that killed a Grand Haven man.
Becky Vargo
Aug 6, 2012


Steven Paul Spencer is charged with driving while intoxicated, causing death, a crime which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The trial is set for Oct. 16 in Muskegon County Circuit Court.

The decision to move forward with a trial came out of a July 26 pretrial conference between the prosecuting and defense attorneys.

John Shumaker, 37, was killed in the head-on collision, which occurred just a few miles west of Ravenna. He and his 10-year-old daughter, Madison, were heading home from a softball tournament at the time of the 4:18 p.m. crash.

Madison suffered minor injuries.

Shumaker’s wife, Amanda, and their other daughter, Kaitlynn, were in a car behind him.

The horror of that day is magnified by the 911 calls made to Muskegon County Central Dispatch and the final crash report. Both records were recently released and reveal details of the crash.

Five calls were made to 911 from the crash scene at the intersection of Heights-Ravenna Road and Ensley Street.

To see the report, click the related file below this story.

The first caller was distraught and could not tell the dispatcher how many people were injured.

The caller said she was a couple of cars back and did not witness the accident. When asked how many people were injured, she replied: “There’s too many people. I can’t see. They’re screaming and crying.”

Another caller told the dispatcher, “We could have a fatality.” When asked by the dispatcher if he could perform CPR, he repeatedly told her the man had no pulse.

As people cried out in the background, he told the dispatcher that he believed performing CPR would not help.

Three other men also called 911 and verified the seriousness of Shumaker’s injuries. They also confirmed that the injuries to Madison and to the driver of the other vehicle, Spencer, appeared to be minor.

The second caller made contact with Spencer while talking to the dispatcher. When he asked Spencer what happened, Spencer replied, “My truck spun around and I lost it.”

The incident report from the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Department noted that Shumaker was driving a gray 2007 Ford Focus west on Heights-Ravenna Road. He and his daughter wore seatbelts.

The officer reported when he arrived on the scene that he saw Madison standing with a passerby away from the vehicle.

“As I exited my patrol car, I could hear Madison telling me to help her Daddy,” he wrote.

The report said that Spencer was the driver of the 1986 blue Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck involved in the crash.

Spencer bled from his right ear and seemed dazed, the officer reported.

“Spencer stated that he was out for a ride and had been down toward the lake," the officer wrote. "I asked Spencer if he had anything to drink (and) he stated, ‘No,'"

A blood-alcohol test confirmed no presence of alcohol in Spencer's system.

Spencer did say that he had smoked marijuana at about noon that day, the officer reported. The crash report does not indicate any drug test results.

Spencer was on his way back to Ravenna when he attempted to pass a red truck in front of him, the report noted. Spencer said he lost control and hit the car traveling west.

The driver of the red truck told police he was eastbound on Heights-Ravenna Road and traveling below the posted speed limit of 55 mph because of the hard rain and low visibility. He said the driver of the blue pickup truck came up behind him, proceeded to pass him and lost control, swerving in front of him. He told police the driver possibly over-corrected and the truck went into the westbound lane, crashing into John Shumaker’s car.

Although Amanda Shumaker is aware of the case’s progression, she declined to comment on the criminal proceedings. Instead, she requested that people continue to pray for her family and John’s family as they “go through this difficult time."

Tribune reporter Krystle Wagner contributed to this report.


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