Teen driver sentenced in 2016 fatal crash

Armando Mendoza
An undated courtesy photo of Armando Mendoza.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The teen who was behind the wheel at the time of a car crash that killed a 16-year-old girl last spring has been sentenced.

Armando Mendoza Jr. was sentenced to two to 15 years for reckless driving causing death and three counts of reckless driving causing serious injuries.

In January, Mendoza pleaded no contest to all the felony charges against him. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but it is treated as a guilty plea at sentencing.

The crash happened in the early hours of April 10, 2016 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. Mendoza, then 17; and passengers Kaitlin Keeler, then 16; Olivia Lawrence, then 17; and Alyssa Naughton, then 16, were all hurt. Naughton had to have part of her left leg amputated as a result of her injuries.

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)

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.

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.

**Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled Mendoza’s last name. The error has been fixed.