Family identifies man killed by wrong-way driver

An undated courtesy photo of Jonathon Miles Yarrington.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Saturday, 24 Hour News 8 learned that the victim of a wrong-way, head-on crash Thursday night on US-131 was 27-year-old Jonathon Miles Yarrington.

Little is known about what caused this crash, including the identity of 25-year-old woman police say caused the crash.

What is known is it took the life of a 27-year-old man who had just started at a job he loved that was allowing him to marry the mother of his children this year as they were in the process of buying a new house.

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

It was around 9:50 p.m. Thursday night when police started getting calls of a wrong-way driver heading south on northbound US-131 and then the crash just south of 28th Street SW.

Witnesses say the wrong-way driver was driving at least 70 mph.

A stretch of one of the state’s major highways was blocked for several hours.

But beyond the spectacular nature of the crash was the stark fact that two young people were dead, including Yarrnington.

24 Hour News 8 talked to his fiancée Melissa Ann Bazan in the Kentwood apartment the two shared for several years raising their two boys Miles, 5, and 3-year-old Mason.

“He was just a great father, he was a good man to me, he loved me, he loved our children,” Bazan said.

He was a Wayland High School graduate.

“He’s got quite a few friends from elementary,” she said. “They’re pretty upset with this situation right now.”

He had started working the nightshift at Founders Brewing Company, a job he loved.

“He left here, because he had to go to work and he was on his way to work,” the grieving woman said.

The two met at Subway more than seven years ago and Melissa said she knew quickly that he was the one.

Now they were planning a life together that included getting married later this year.

“We wanted to go away somewhere and just go do it,” Bazan said. “Just the two of us.”

They had plans for their future together.

“I mean we were in the process of buying a house — that was a huge, huge thing for us.”

They spent as much time as possible at the beach with the boys and her other children which he also helped raise — and just doing the things that make a life a life.

“He was an amazing father – the best thing that ever happened to me,” Bazan said.

Now she is left with questions some of which she is not sure she wants answered.

“I would like to know some things like why the other driver did what she did. I mean it was selfish,” Bazan said.

Melissa says funeral arrangements are still being made but she is hopeful that there will be a fundraiser hosted by his former employer.