Wrong-way driver with dementia losing license

Dash cam video from a 24 Hour News 8 photojournalist shows a wrong-way driver in US-131 in Allegan County. (Aug. 17, 2015)


LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A 72-year-old man who drove the wrong way on US-131 is in the process of losing his license.

It’s been nine weeks since 72-year-old Ronald Heath drove north in the southbound lanes of US-131 from Plainwell to Shelbyville.

Target 8 has been tracking the status of the man’s license to find out how the state handles such cases.

The wrong way incident was Heath’s third careless driving-related offense in one year. Still, it wasn’t enough to trigger an automatic re-examination of his driving ability. That only happens if a driver — within a short time frame — causes a fatal accident, a certain number of accidents or accrues 12 points on his license.

In Heath’s case, however, an Allegan County deputy who responded to the Aug. 17 incident on US-131 submitted what’s known as an OC-88 to the state asking that it re-examine Heath’s driving ability for medical reasons.

>>Online: OC-88 (PDF)

That re-examination was scheduled to happen Monday, Oct. 19, but Heath’s record shows that he did not appear. Thus, the state is in the process of suspending his driver’s license indefinitely.

Heath’s son told Target 8 the family knew the time was coming to take Heath’s license away because his dementia was worsening.

The son said the wrong-way driving incident was the last straw, prompting the family to take Ronald Heath’s vehicle away for good.

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