by JUDY REED
A drunk-driving related accident in Solon Township claimed the life of a Wyoming man Saturday night.
According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, the crash occurred at the intersection of White Creek Avenue and 17 Mile Road about 10:25 p.m. Saturday, October 4. According to a witness, a red Jeep driven by Todd Michael Benoit, 35, of Rockford, was heading northbound on White Creek Avenue, and had stopped before pulling out into the intersection in front of a westbound, full-size Dodge pickup truck. The Jeep was struck in the front passenger’s door.
Cedar Springs and Solon Township fire and rescue responded to the scene, and used the Jaws of Life to extricate the passenger in the Jeep, Derrick Mitchell Holstege, 19, of Wyoming. Paramedics performed CPR on the young man, before sending him to Butterworth Hospital, where he later died. Benoit, who is reportedly the teen’s father. was also sent to the hospital by Rockford Ambulance, in critical condition. Parent said that alcohol appears to have been a contributing factor on the part of Benoit.
At that time of night, the light flashes red for north-south traffic on White Creek and flashes yellow for east-west traffic on 17 Mile Road. Parent said that the witness told him the northbound Jeep stopped, and then he (southbound witness) stopped, and then the Jeep proceeded into the intersection. “He (Benoit) may have thought
it was his turn to go, and not have realized that there was a flashing yellow the other way,” said Parent. “But alcohol was also a factor.”
The driver of the pickup, a 33-year-old man from Howard City, was not injured. “Due to the seriousness of the crash, he voluntarily submitted to a preliminary breath test,” explained Parent. “The results were negative for alcohol.”
The accident remains under investigation at this time.