Thursday, 26 February 2015 16:00

50+ Crashes in Ottawa Co., MI, Body Shops Have Long Waits

On February 19, US-31 in Grand Haven Township was almost unrecognizable due to whiteout conditions that caused three separate accidents involving a total of nine cars. Deputies told Bob Brenzing and Alex Shabad of wzzm13.com that traffic was slowing due to a wrecker pulling a school bus out of a ditch just after 9 a.m.

US-31 near Fillmore, MI on February 19

Becky Vargo - Grand Haven Tribune


Investigators stated that a semi truck stopped for the wrecker, and was then hit by a car, causing a domino effect with the trailing vehicles.  

Lt. Shawn Schrader with the Grand Haven Township Fire Department blames the white out conditions, saying the drivers couldn’t see the stopped semi-truck until it was too late.

That car's driver and two other people involved in the crashes on US-31 were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, reported Brenzing and Shabad.

Before noon on that Thursday, Ottawa County saw a total of 52 accidents and slide-offs, most of which occurring along US-31 or I-196 in Zeeland and Holland.

The lake effect is not only a snow-maker, but also a money-maker for Auto Body Xperts in Holland Township, reported Brenzing and Shabad.

Mandy Baroza, general manager of Auto Body Xperts, said the snow generates more business, referring to the flakes as “white gold from the sky.”

In just two days, the show saw 30 damaged vehicles. Auto Body Xperts has divided the damaged vehicles between those that are drive-able and those that are not, so that customers with less significant damage can return another time, reported Brenzing and Shabad.

At the end of February, there was a week long wait to get into the Holland location. However, there Hudsonville location hasn’t been as busy.

In Van Buren County, three semi-trucks and a car were involved in a crash on I-196 in Covert Township, reported Brenzing and Shabad. Two people were rescued from underneath one of the semis and taken to South Haven for treatment.