Driver charged in crash that killed teen, injured others

Alyssa Eggerding was killed in the April 10 crash in Alpine Township

Armando Mendoza
An undated courtesy photo of Armando Mendoza.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Felony charges have been filed against the teen who was behind the wheel at the time of an April car crash that left one person dead.

Armando Mendoza Jr., 17, faces a count of reckless driving causing death and three counts of reckless driving causing serious injury, online Michigan State Police records show.

The crash happened in the early hours of April 10 near the intersection of 9 Mile Road and Vinton Avenue in Alpine Township, north of Grand Rapids. Passenger Alyssa Eggerding, 16, died the next day.

Aylissa Eggerding, Kaitlin Keeler, Olivia Lawrence, Armando Mendoza, Alyissa Naughton
Top, left to right: Alyssa Eggerding and Kaitlin Keeler. Bottom, left to right: Olivia Lawrence, Armando Mendoza and Alyssa Naughton. (Undated courtesy photos)

Also wounded were Mendoza, 16-year-old Kaitlin Keeler, 17-year-old Olivia Lawrence and 16-year-old Alyssa Naughton. Naughton had to have part of her left leg amputated as a result of her injuries.

All of the victims are out of the hospital and in various stages of recovery, one of their mothers told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday.

According to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office, Mendoza could not have been legally driving at the time of the crash. He had a graduated driver’s license level 1, meaning he was not allowed to drive without a designated licensed driver over the age of 21 in the car.

In April, authorities previously said drugs and alcohol had been involved in the incident, but that Mendoza was not under the influence. Mendoza’s mother said her son is a good kid and was trying to help his friends by providing them a ride.

Keeler’s mother told 24 Hour News 8 just after the crash that her daughter remembered seeing the speedometer being at 110 mph at some point before the crash.

Mendoza was in court Wednesday for a probable cause hearing, at which point a judge ordered he undergo an exam to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. His next court date has not yet been scheduled.

If convicted of reckless driving causing death, he could spend up to 15 years in prison.

**Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the restrictions for a graduated driver’s license level 2 rather than level 1. The text has been updated. We regret the error.

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