Kira Vanbeukering, the driver of a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am, died in the crash that occurred at about 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of Lake Michigan Drive and 128th Avenue in Robinson Township.
Critically injured in the crash were her passengers — Savanna Tackett, 29, and Conner Glass, 19, both of Grand Haven.
Tackett was the front-seat passenger in the Grand Am. She was airlifted to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids after the crash. Her condition was upgraded to serious as of Tuesday afternoon, according to a hospital representative.
It is unknown as to whether or not Tackett was wearing a seat belt, said Sgt. Steve Austin of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.
Glass was a passenger in the back seat of the Grand Am. He was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car in the crash, Austin said.
An ambulance transported Glass to the Grand Rapids hospital, where he remained in critical condition Tuesday afternoon, officials said.
Also injured in the crash was the driver of a 2000 Oldsmobile Alero — Laura Hilliard, 48, of Muskegon. She suffered minor injuries and was in stable condition when transported to Butterworth Hospital, Austin said.
The driver of the third car involved in the crash, a 2013 VW Jetta, was Katherine Steinke, 23, also of Grand Haven. She was checked at the scene of the crash and not transported to a hospital.
Both Steinke and Hilliard were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, Austin said.
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 the 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 the Alero.
The impact caused the Grand Am to spin out and cross the center line of M-45, where it collided with the westbound Jetta, said Sgt. Matt Wildfong of the Sheriff’s Office.
M-45 was closed for more than two hours after the crash for the investigation and cleanup work.
Hilliard told police she was distracted by two dead deer on the south side of the road and did not realize the car in front of her was stopped.
Austin said once the investigation is completed, the report will be turned over to the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office for review and authorization of potential charges, if any.