A 16-year-old Cedar Springs teen was killed and two other teens were critically injured Thursday morning, August 23, when the car they were riding in ran off the road and hit a tree.
According to Kent County Sheriff Sgt. James Loughrin, the accident occurred about 8:20 a.m. The 16-year-old male driver and two male passengers were headed north on White Creek Avenue, north of Wiersma, when the car veered off the road and hit a tree.
The driver, Wyatt Phillips, 16, of Cedar Springs, was pronounced dead at the scene. The front seat passenger, Johnny Klaasen, 16, of Cedar Springs, suffered a shoulder injury and was transported to the hospital by ambulance. It took over an hour to extricate the back seat passenger, Sean Thompson, 16, of Sparta, who was critically injured with head and leg injuries. Rescue workers had to open up the back of the car to get him out. Sean was awake and talking to officers and rescue personnel as they worked. He was taken to Butterworth by AeroMed.
According to investigating Deputy Jason VanDyke, police believe that excessive speed was the cause of the accident. They do not believe alcohol was involved. All were wearing their seatbelts.
Cedar Springs High School set up a crisis team in the high school media center for students to come in and talk to a counselor. A candlelight vigil was scheduled for Wyatt Phillips at Cedar’s first home football game, Friday, August 24.