1 dead in wrong-way crash on I-96

A crash on I-96 near Marne. (Courtesy Meghan Vonck via ReportIt - July 10, 2014)

MARNE, Mich. (WOOD) — One man was killed in a crash caused by a wrong-way driver on I-96 near Marne Thursday evening.

William Alfred Foster, 52, of Wyoming, was killed in the wreck  that happened around 7:45 p.m. in the eastbound lanes at mile marker 23, near Marne. Eastbound I-96 was shut down starting near mile marker 19, just east of Coopersville, for hours and reopened just before midnight.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said an SUV was headed the wrong direction in the eastbound lanes collided with Foster’s minivan, which then burst into flames.

Authorities were able to find some paperwork in Foster’s vehicle and contacted his boss, who identified Foster at the scene. It took authorities hours to confirm there was no one else in the minivan.

The driver of the SUV is being identified as 32-year-old Heather Ann Luke from Nunica. She was pinned in her vehicle for an hour before she was extricated.

Luke was airlifted to a Grand Rapids hospital where she remains in critical condition. She was the only person in the SUV.

Sheriff’s officials said Luke made a three-point turn on the highway to turn her car around before she took off in the wrong direction. It’s not yet known why Luke was driving west in the eastbound lanes.

Capt. Steve Kempker with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said 10 to 11 vehicles moved out of the SUV’s way to avoid a crash. Foster’s van, according to Kempker, had “no chance,” and was the only vehicle hit.

Susan Clum said she and her husband saw the SUV headed the wrong way just before the crash.

“Looked at my husband and said, ‘She’s going to kill somebody.’ And it wasn’t two seconds later we heard the boom, and the van just instantly went up in flames. The people in the van never had a chance,” she said.

Foster’s death is the second death caused by a wrong-way driver on I-96 in the last two weeks.

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