Few answers in fatal wrong-way crash on US-131

US-131, wrong-way crash
The scene of an apparent wrong-way crash on US-131 south of 28th Street. (Feb. 23, 2017)


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police have not released the names of the two people that were killed after a wrong-way driver crashed into two other vehicles on US-131 near 28th Street Thursday night.

The wrong-way driver, a 25-year-old woman from Grand Rapids, died as a result of the crash. A 27-year-old Grand Rapids man who was hit by the wrong-way driver was also killed.

State police haven’t released the names of the victims, as they continue to notify relatives.

The crash happened just before 10 p.m. Thursday in the northbound lanes of US-131, between 28th and 32nd streets.

Several drivers had already dodged the wrong-way vehicle before the crash. Melissa Steenwyk was one of those drivers.

“I was in the center lane traveling northbound on 131 and I saw headlights coming at me,” she told 24 Hour News 8.

Steenwyk was driving north on US-131 near Burton Street, headed downtown when the Hyundai Sonata appeared in the left lane headed south.

“I just stayed in my lane. I didn’t know what to do. I just stayed there. I didn’t swerve because there was cars around you,” said Steenwyk. “I thought, are they drunk? But they weren’t swerving or anything. They were just going fast.”

Steenwy called 911, but the dispatcher was already aware of the situation.

Police didn’t pursue the wrong-way driver, fearing it might make an already dangerous situation worse.

Instead, they got ahead of the wrong-way driver, described as a 25-year-old Grand Rapids woman, hoping to block her off.

But the wrong-way driver crashed between 28th Street and Burton Street, killing herself and the 27-year-old driver of another vehicle headed in the right direction.

A third vehicle was involved. That driver was not seriously injured.

The close call left Steenwyk shaken.

“There’s nothing you can do. I thought, if you were in a lot of traffic, could you just keep honking your horn to let other drivers know? But you’re going so fast, I mean, there’s nothing you can do to avoid something like that,” Steenwyk said Friday.

“It made me think about a lot last night. I mean, it could be over any time and I was that close to something happening. ”

State police are waiting for an autopsy and toxicology reports on the wrong-way driver but so far, aren’t offering any answers as to why the crash happened.