Wyoming plow truck hit-and-run suspect arrested

Chelsea Crawford, 26, killed in crash on 52nd Street in Wyoming

Wyoming, plow truck, hit-and-run, arrest
Wyoming police arrest a suspect in a fatal hit-and-run. (Jan. 11, 2017)


WYOMIMG, Mich. (WOOD) — Police have arrested a commercial snowplow truck driver suspected of hitting and killing a pedestrian in Wyoming on Tuesday morning.

Chelsea Crawford, 26, was struck by a pickup truck as she walked along 52nd Street just east of Byron Center Avenue. The pickup, which had a plow on the front, then left the scene.

The suspect, a 21-year-old man from Wyoming, was arrested without incident around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday at Ramblewood Apartments in the area of Byron Center Avenue and 44th Street — less than a mile and a half from the crash scene. A 24 Hour News 8 crew watched as he was brought out of a third-floor apartment in handcuffs.

Police have not yet released his name, but 24 Hour News 8 has learned he does have a criminal history. In 2013, the man pleaded guilty to growing and selling marijuana. He was sentenced to probation, which he completed in June 2016. In 2014, he was caught and charged for driving on a suspended license, but Michigan Secretary of State records show he had a valid license at the time of the crash.

A man who said he is the suspect’s brother did not have any comment for 24 Hour News 8. He would not say if the suspect was aware he had hit someone and if that’s why he didn’t stop.

Wyoming Department of Public Safety Lt. Mark Easterly said the plow truck was found at a parking lot at Ramblewood Tuesday evening, but officers did not know at the time the suspect lives there.

Wyoming, hit-and-run, pickup truck
A surveillance photo showing the pickup truck believed to have struck and killed a pedestrian on 52nd Street in Wyoming on the morning Jan. 10, 2017.

Easterly said police found the truck through tips from the public and were subsequently able to identify the driver. In a late afternoon release, Wyoming DPS thanked members of the public who “stepped up and gave some very solid information that we were able to follow up on and assisted us in breaking the case.”

“Anytime that there’s a death we have to investigate, obviously, it’s very important for us to bring closure for that family, but it also weighs heavily on our public safety staff here, as well,” Easterly told 24 Hour News 8. “So when we can start to bring this to closure and everything else, it gives everybody a smile on their face.”

>>Watch: Interview with Lt. Easterly

The plow truck is owned by a local landscaping company, which police say is cooperating.

Police say the suspect has been taken to the Kent County jail and that the case will be forwarded to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office, which will decide what charges are appropriate.

PARENTS WILL MISS CRAWFORD’S ‘EXUBERANCE’

Chelsea Crawford’s father, Cliff Fender, told 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday that he was notified of his daughter’s death while at work when he got a call from her mother.

“She says, ‘We’ve lost our baby.’ And you say, ‘What? What happened? … What do you mean? What are you talking about, we’ve lost our baby?’ ‘She was hit by a snowplow,'” Fender said he was told. “5,000 pounds of plow truck versus a little girl walking down the street. It’s hard.”

Chelsea Crawford
An undated courtesy photo of Chelsea Crawford provided by her husband, Ben.

He said he would miss his daughter’s “exuberant excitement about every little thing that happened in her life.”

There had been several of those moments in Crawford’s life lately: She was married last year and had just bought a home. Her mother, Chris Fender, said she helped her move into the home shortly after her wedding.

“I just have no regrets. [I had the] most wonderful life with my daughter and she is forever in our hearts,” she told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday night.

Both of Crawford’s parents say their daughter wouldn’t want them to harbor any hate toward the driver.

“Chelsea would’ve forgiven you and we do, too… Our lives are forever changed and I’m sure his will be too, so [it’s] tragedy all around,” Chris Fender said.

A memorial service for Crawford is being planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at Resurrection Life Church in Grandville.

>>Online: Chelsea Crawford Memorial Fund

–24 Hour News 8’s Leon Hendrix contributed to this report.