Dangerous intersection?

Becky Vargo • Aug 21, 2017 at 3:47 PM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — One person was injured in a two-car crash at Mercury Drive and Groesbeck Street on Monday afternoon. 

From what neighbors say, that’s nothing unusual.

James Candela, 74, of Grand Haven suffered non-life-threatening injuries in Monday’s crash. An ambulance transported him to North Ottawa Community Hospital, where he was in stable condition following the crash, said Sgt. Brian Buter of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

Emergency crews responded to the Grand Haven Township intersection shortly after 2:50 p.m.

Dave Spader said he was sitting in his backyard at his corner home when he heard the collision.

“I called 911 at 2:52 p.m.,” he said.

Grand Haven resident Christopher Murray said he was driving his 2007 Jeep south on Mercury Drive when a Ford Escape pulled off Groesbeck Street in front of him.

“There was another car in the right-turn lane, so I don’t know if he saw me at first,” Murray said.

The 2011 Escape pulled into the intersection and slowed slightly. Murray said that’s when he swerved into the turn lane, but the Escape moved forward again and he couldn’t avoid striking the vehicle in its driver’s side door.

Both vehicles went off the east side of the road and stopped.

The driver of the the Escape was pinned inside his vehicle for a short time and was able to get out when Grand Haven Township firefighters removed the door.

Buter said that Candela stopped for the stop sign at the intersection, but then pulled into Murray’s path. Candela was ticketed for failure to yield the right of way.

Spader said he moved to the area from Flint about five years ago and Mercury Drive is a lot busier than where he had lived before.

Another neighbor, Doug Vanse, agreed, and said with all of the new homes going in that it was just getting worse.

“If they would just put a blinking light here, it would help,” said Vanse, gesturing to the intersection.

He also wondered out-loud what it would take to make that happen, while acknowledging that improvements, including a turn lane, had been added to the roadway in the past several years.

“About every 12 weeks, we get an accident here,” Spader said.

Vanse said the mail delivery woman was hit about a month ago and that the guardrails on the curve farther to the southeast have been replaced a few times. There’s also a curve a short distance to the north.

Vanse said he’s also asked the Postal Service if mailboxes could be placed on both sides of the road — for delivery safety as well as the safety of the residents who have to cross the road to get their mail.

Spader said crashes along Mercury Drive are a regular occurrence and it’s just a matter of time before there is another fatality.

“Take a chair and just sit here for a day and you will see,” he said.

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