Lowell man enters plea in fatal drunk driving crash

Michael Hoogewind
An undated mug shot of Michael Hoogewind. (Kent County Correctional Facility)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A driver has pleaded no contest to driving drunk and causing a fatal crash in November.

Michael Hoogewind was in court Tuesday to enter the plea to a charge of operating with high blood alcohol content (BAC) level causing death with a prior conviction.

In November 2016, Hoogewind failed to yield the right of way at the intersection of Lincoln Lake Road and 6 Mile Road NE in Grattan Township, northeast of Grand Rapids. He crashed into the car of David Arthur Cliff, 58, who was killed in the collision.

Court records show Hoogewind, 32, of Lowell, admitted to drinking after an officer smelled alcohol on his breath. His BAC level was 0.23, almost triple the legal limit of .08.

It wasn’t the first time he was caught driving drunk. In March 2011, his license was suspended for driving with levels two times over the legal limit. State records show he also got in trouble three other times that year for high BAC levels detected by the breathalyzer in his vehicle.

In January 2013, a state agency approved removing the breathalyzer from his car and reinstated his license.

Hoogewind was scheduled to stand trial starting April 10; that has been canceled. He is set to be sentenced May 18.