Trouble began early for suspect in snow plow death

Austin Hill
Austin Hill is arraigned via video following a fatal hit-and-run crash in Wyoming. (Jan. 13, 2017)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The tale laid out by court documents show a teen who it seemed could not stay out of trouble with the law.

And a life on the verge of a turnaround until last Tuesday when he allegedly struck a woman as she walked down 52nd Street SW and then fled the scene leading to manhunt, an on-camera arrest and a charge that could result in 30 years behind bars.

But those who love 21-year-old Austin Hill say there is more to him than his criminal record.

Hill had been in minor trouble at school as a child, but things got serious when the Department of Homeland Security showed up at his home in May 2009 when he was 13.

Hill was charged with making a false threat of terrorism in calling in a bomb threat to RiverTown Crossings Mall and eventually took a no contest plea.

Over the next two years he would repeatedly violate his probation by refusing to go to school, violating curfew and allegedly smoking marijuana.

A social worker would note that his parents were unable to control him.

Then in March 2013, a drug enforcement taskforce raided the Wyoming mobile home he shared with his dad and brother and all three were arrested after police say they found 33 marijuana plants, 108 grams of processed marijuana and three grams of cocaine.

The dad and the brothers were arrested and Hill was eventually sentenced to 30 months of probation and his license was suspended for the first time.

It would take until this June for Hill to satisfy the terms of his probation including paying off his costs and fines.

Then came his very public arrest on Thursday as police took him out of his Ramblewood apartment after breaking down the door to serve a search warrant.

Hill’s step-dad tells 24 Hour News 8 that Hill had been overcoming his troubled youth and the bad influences in his life.

Hill was gainfully employed and working to better himself when the crash occurred — a complete accident and a lapse in judgment, according to his family.

Hill’s attorney says that his arrest was unnecessary as Hill was making arrangements to turn himself in to the Kent County Jail.

But a judge saw things differently today during a Wyoming District Court hearing.

He raised the bond from $750,000 to $1 million and noted that Hill had written text messages indicating he planned to flee to Florida. He remains in jail.

Meanwhile, the 10 a.m. Saturday funeral for Chelsea Crawford will be livestreamed on Facebook from Resurrection Life Church in Wyoming.

It is the same church that both Crawford and Hill attended before the crash changed everything.