Man killed in fiery wrong-way crash identified

Authorities respond to a wrong-way crash on southbound US-131 in Allegan County (August 14, 2017)

WAYLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Police have identified a Wayland man who was killed in a wrong-way crash on US-131 Sunday.

The Allegan County Sherriff’s Office said 29-year-old Sean Barone died after colliding with another vehicle while he was traveling the wrong way on US-131.

It happened around 11 p.m. Sunday in the southbound lanes of US-131 north of the Shelbyville exit in Wayland Township, according to police.

Authorities said calls were coming in about a vehicle parked in the southbound lane with no lights on. While heading to the scene, reports of a fiery head-on crash at the same location began coming in.

After several vehicles were able to swerve around him, Barone eventually collided with a 22-year-old Plainwell area man. The crash trapped the other driver in his vehicle, which caught fire.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker said the first responders on the scene were a Gun Lake Tribal police officer and a Wayland police officer, who immediately tried to free the driver trapped in the burning car. When deputies arrived, they used their fire extinguishers to try to keep the fire under control. When their extinguishers ran out, they flagged down a passing semi-truck to get another extinguisher so they could keep battling the flames and free the driver.

Eventually, the Wayland Fire Department arrived to put out the fire.

The driver was taken to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital with a severe leg injury and concussion-like symptoms, neither of which were life-threatening.

The sheriff said the officers saved the driver’s life. Gun Lake Tribal Officer Josh Blanton, Wayland Officer Jonathon Schaefer, and Deputies Ross Mysliwiec, Rob Flokstra and Ryan Rewa will all receive a formal award as a result.

Alcohol is believed to be a factor in regards to the deceased driver, Allegan County Sheriff’s Office said in a release. Both drivers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.