Crashes stall traffic on I-96 Sunday night

Becky Vargo • Jul 17, 2017 at 1:35 PM

WRIGHT TWP. — The driver of a semi-truck told police he was slowing down for traffic Sunday night when he realized he wasn’t going to be able to stop in time. 

Gregory Harder, 50, told Ottawa County deputies that he veered his big rig toward the ditch in an effort to avoid hitting a vehicle on I-96, but the Croswell man’s truck clipped a 2004 Jeep in its right rear corner. That collision propelled the Jeep at an angle into a 2004 Chevrolet Blazer, said Sgt. Matt Wildfong of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

The semi continued on into the ditch on the south side of the highway.

The crash in the eastbound lanes near 48th Avenue in Wright Township happened at about 9:30 p.m.

At the time of the crash, traffic on eastbound I-96 was slowed because of a crash in the westbound lanes near Marne.

Harder and the driver of the Jeep, 68-year-old John Kalinka of Ada, were not injured.

Two people in the Blazer were transported to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids. The driver, 41-year-old Wyatt Sisson of Saginaw, and a back-seat passenger, 11-year-old Kayla Sisson, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Wildfong said. One other adult and a child in the SUV were not injured.

Harder was ticketed for failing to stop in time, Wildfong said.

Eastbound I-96 between 48th and 24th avenues was closed for about an hour after the crash.

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