Friends mourn loss of 13-year-old crash victim

An undated courtesy photo of David Talsma.

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Several young friends of a boy killed in a Monday afternoon car crash gathered with their families to grieve at a church not far from the scene of the crash.

David Talsma died after the van he was riding in was rear-ended by a distracted driver on I-196 near Hudsonville. Police say the 40-year-old Indiana man that hit the van was using his GPS device and eating a sandwich when the crash happened. David’s 16-year-old sister was driving the van. She had only recently obtained her driver’s license.

Tuesday, friends at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church wrote messages to David’s family on large paper banners.

“I pray that he will be remembered as a great person and friend,” read one message in a child’s handwriting.

“Your smile will always be imprinted in my heart,” wrote another.

Bob Huisman, the pastor of Immanuel CRC, said David regularly attended youth group at the church.

“I think of a kid who always had a smile on his face and light in his eyes,” Huisman told 24 Hour News 8. “I think he was more tenderhearted than the average 8th-grade boy.”

He said one of the  questions many youth have after an incident like this is ‘why?’

“We don’t understand why that is allowed to happen,” he said. “Because he’s a loving God, we know that he’s caring for them — watching out for them. Nothing’s going to happen without his knowledge.”

Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office investigators said on Tuesday that their probe into the crash continued. They are awaiting the results of toxicology tests from the at-fault driver. Until those results come in, it won’t be clear what charges that driver may face.

Visitation is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Daybreak Community Church in Hudsonville, according to David’s obituary. Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at the church.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society Strides for Life.

David is a member of the well-known family that owns and operates the Talsma Furniture Company, based in West Michigan. He was a student at Hudsonville Christian Schools and was slated to start the 8th grade this fall.


Daybreak Community Church
3501 Baldwin Street
Hudsonville, MI 49426

American Cancer Society Strides for Life
129 Jefferson Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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