MARNE, Mich. (WOOD) — A teen was killed and another person was hospitalized after a crash believed to have been caused by texting while driving.
The crash happened around 10:45 p.m. Wednesday in the 13000 block of 8th Avenue near I-96 in Tallmadge Township.
Jacob Freybler, 17, was southbound on 8th Avenue when he crossed the center line and hit 59-year-old Timothy Andersen.
Deputies say Freybler, of Grand Rapids, was pinned in and unconscious. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Andersen was taken to the hospital with broken bones, but is expected to survive. Andersen had a 33-year-old passenger with him who was not hurt.
Freybler was receiving a text message when the crash happened, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies say both drivers were wearing seat belts and that alcohol and speed do not appear to be factors.
“It’s so hard for everybody,” said Freybler’s friend Karley Meed. “It’s just so hard to lose your best friend.”
She said she was shocked when she learned of the death.
“I didn’t believe it, and I said, ‘No, Jake couldn’t’ve passed away.’ And then my mom came running in a few minutes later and I just broke,” she said.
The restaurant was closed as family held a private vigil inside. Freybler’s father reiterated his message to put away cellphones when driving.
“Everybody has a phone,” said Meed’s grandmother Char Lipski. “They have to learn at an early age to put it aside. Because I hope my granddaughters learn from this and all the kids here, that it will send a message to them.”
Karley Meed said the death will stop her from texting while driving.
“I’m going to keep my phone in the console,” she promised.