Two of the injured were hospitalized in critical condition, with one being transported by the AeroMed ambulance helicopter to a Grand Rapids hospital, according to Capt. John Wolffis of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.
The deceased and the two critically injured patients were all in the same car.
Names of those involved in the crash have not been released.
Emergency crews responded to the crash on the busy two-lane highway at 3:25 p.m. Robinson Township firefighters and Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies found one car on the southeast side of the intersection with front-end damage; one car in the ditch on the northwest side of the road with front-end damage; and the last car, with extensive damage, in the westbound lane of M-45.
Police said the investigation shows a silver Pontiac Grand Am was slowing to turn left from eastbound M-45 to go north on 128th Avenue. The Grand Am was then struck from behind by a red Oldsmobile.
The impact caused the Grand Am to spin out and cross the center line of M-45, where it collided with a VW Jetta that was westbound on M-45, said Sgt. Matt Wildfong of the Sheriff’s Office.
A passenger in the Grand Am was ejected from the car. That person was taken by a North Ottawa Community Hospital ambulance to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.
A front-seat passenger in the Grand Am was flown to Spectrum Health by AeroMed.
The driver of the Grand Am was pronounced dead at the crash scene, Wildfong said.
The driver of the Oldsmobile was transported to Hackley Hospital in Muskegon with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Wildfong.
The female driver of the Jetta was not injured, or was seeking her own treatment, police said.
M-45 was closed for more than two hours after the crash for the investigation and cleanup work.