MSP: Cause of fatal police crash unknown

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 findings on the crash that killed a Norton Shores police officer earlier this year.

According to MSP, Officer Jonathan Ginka died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the crash on May 10. Troopers say the 34-year-old officer was heading to the police station for the end of his 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. shift when his cruiser crashed into a tree on Henry Street in Norton Shores.

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

The medical examiner report determined the cause of death was accidental. The cause of the crash remains unknown, but state police say several factors have been ruled out.

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. The cruiser was traveling 46 mph and Ginka was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash. State police determined speed was not a factor.

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

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

The report found that Ginka was not responding to call or using an electronic device at the time the crash.

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.

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.