Driver likely to avoid jail in hit-and-run crash that killed father

Korey Taphouse killed while walking along Port Sheldon Street

Heidi Vanderbie in court on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — A Zeeland woman who pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge in a crash that killed a Hudsonville father will avoid jail, as long as she finishes community service.

A judge Tuesday morning sentenced Heidi Vanderbie to 18 months probation and 150 hours of community service in connection to the Nov. 27 hit-and-run crash that killed 30-year-old Korey Taphouse.

Korey Taphouse.

Taphouse was hit while he went for a walk beside Port Sheldon Street, east of 48th Avenue in Georgetown Township, near his house. There are no sidewalks along that part of the road.

Police said Vanderbie, of Zeeland, was driving westbound on Port Sheldon Street when her 2012 Jeep struck Taphouse. She allegedly told police she thought she hit a deer, so she drove home and then called 911.

Vanderbie pleaded no contest to leaving the scene of an injury accident in May. The misdemeanor charge carried a maximum punishment of a year in jail.

As part of her punishment, Vanderbie cannot have alcohol or controlled substances, must submit to testing and searches, must speak at a traffic forum or impact panel and must pay a fine of $1,040, according to the court. If she doesn’t complete her community service, she will spend 60 days in jail.

Since Taphouse’s death, his wife, Emily Taphouse, has learned that his donated organs have helped save at least four people and she has lobbied Georgetown Township for the installation of sidewalks and improved lighting.