VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich.– Along a stretch of County Road 388 in Van Buren County, a tiny makeshift memorial with teddy bears and roses is set up as a reminder of a horrific crash Tuesday night.
It took the lives of 24-year-old Brittney King from Bangor and her cousin’s two little girls 4-year-old Cassadi Berryhill and 2-year-old Kandice Berryhill.
The child’s father, 24-year-old Justin Berryhill, was also in the car, but survived. He suffered serious injuries, including a punctured lung and broken bones and is being treated at Bronson Hospital.
“You can’t comprehend it, it’s like a war zone in the hospital, nobody is talking nobody is hugging or asking reasons, they can’t believe what just happened,” explained close family friend David Partain from South Haven.
He grew up with Justin Berryhill in South Haven and considers him a brother. He says Justin’s adorable little girls were at the center of his world. He was engaged to their mother, Alicia, who is Brittney King’s cousin.
Justin recently posted on Facebook. “We have two beautiful girls and we are happily in love.”
Brittney King grew up with that family. She recently waited tables at a local golf course and had two children of her own.
“For Brittney’s family, for the girl’s, for everyone, I don’t know what to tell them just pray. There’s nothing I can say to make it better. I wouldn’t want to try.”
Deputies say their car was hit by a driver who tried to pass and hit them head on. He told police he had been drinking. The man identified as David Johnson had just moved back to the Grand Junction area after living in Alabama. He told deputies he had been drinking and has a record. He’s currently in the hospital. That has left many with questions.
“If you are drinking and driving, I’m like okay you made a mistake, but to learn he has prior convictions. It’s like wow, how many times does it take to understand you can’t drive when you drink,” said Partain.
Friends have set up a memorial for Justin Berryhill’s family at Chemical Bank. Donations to pay for his daughter’s funeral can be made at any bank location in West Michigan.