MSP: Speed not factor in fatal police crash

Norton Shores police cruiser crash
Michigan State Police troopers walk down Henry Street to the scene of a crash involving a Norton Shores police cruiser. (May 10, 2017)

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police has released its preliminary findings on the crash that killed a Norton Shores police officer.

According to MSP, Officer Jonathan Ginka, 34, was not responding to a call Wednesday morning when his cruiser crashed into a tree on Henry Street in Norton Shores. The cruiser was traveling 46 mph at the time of the crash. State police have determined speed was not a factor.

Ginka was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.

A MSP crash reconstructionist found the cruiser went off the road for roughly two seconds and approximately 145 feet. The data recorder shows Ginka took his foot off the accelerator then put it on the brake just before crashing into the tree.

Norton Shores police crash
The wreckage of Officer Jon Ginka’s cruiser is loaded onto a flatbed. (May 10, 2017)

Even though Ginka applied the brakes, MSP says it wasn’t able to stop the cruiser from colliding with the tree.

MSP notes that images used by the media show the cruiser after firefighters took off the roof and door so crews could free Ginka from the wreckage.

Autopsy results are expected to be released by the end of May, state police said.

Ginka was a 10-year veteran of the Norton Shores Police Department. He was also a former North Muskegon firefighter and graduate of Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s police academy.

Officer Jonathan Ginka
An undated courtesy photo of Officer Jonathan Ginka. (Norton Shores Police Department)

He leaves behind a wife and two children, as well as his parents and many friends and family. Longtime officials say Ginka is the first on-duty officer the Norton Shores Police Department has lost.

Visitation for Ginka will be held Monday, May 15 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, at The Lee Chapel, which is located at 6291 S. Harvey Street in Norton Shores. Memorial donations can be made in his name to the Wounded Warriors Project or the Norton Shores Crime Prevention Fund in lieu of flowers.

Ginka’s funeral will be held Tuesday, May 16 at 11 a.m. at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, which is located at 1110 Dykstra Rd. in Laketon Township. His burial will follow at the Laketon Township Cemetery.