Man sentenced for fatal drunken driving crash

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

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A repeat drunken driver who caused a deadly crash near Cannonsburg last year is headed to a state prison.

On Thursday, Michael Hoogewind of Lowell was sentenced to between six and 20 years behind bars. He received credit for eight days served.

The crash happened in November 2016 at the intersection of Lincoln Lake Road and 6 Mile Road NE in Grattan Township. Authorities say Hoogewind didn’t yield the right of way and crashed into David Cliff’s car. Cliff, 58, of Greenville was killed.

Emergency crews on scene of a deadly crash at Lincoln Lake Road and 6 Mile Road NE, east of Cannonsburg. (Nov. 9, 2016)

Hoogewind’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level at the time was .23 — nearly triple Michigan’s legal limit of .08. According to documents, he admitted to a responding deputy that he had been drinking.

State records show that he was previously convicted of drunken driving in 2011. After that, a breathalyzer installed in his car detected a high BAC three times that year. The breathalyzer was removed from his car in 2013.

In March, Hoogewind pleaded no contest to operating with a high BAC level causing death with a prior conviction. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as a guilty plea at sentencing.

At sentencing, he was also ordered to pay restitution for Cliff’s funeral expenses.

Cliff’s estate is suing Hoogewind. Also named in that lawsuit is the corporation that owns the bar Hoogewind was allegedly drinking at before the crash.