Family Remembers Man Killed In Kentwood Crash

Posted at 6:17 PM, Feb 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-20 19:52:44-05

ALLENDALE, Mich– He was a hockey player, a MSU fan, and a guy that just loved to make people laugh. That’s the way Sara Ferguson will remember her brother.

“It made him this person that walks into a room and he just light it up, everyone loved him,” Sara Ferguson, Vander Wall’s sister said.

Sara’s brother, Sam John Vander Wall, 25, was killed early Saturday morning, after running a red light on the 44th Street and Broadmoor Avenue in Kentwood. He was hit by a semi-tractor/trailer according to the Kentwood Police Department and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police don’t know what caused Vander Wall to run the red light. They think alcohol may have played a factor, but the family doesn’t think it was.

Sara says she still remembers how it felt when she heard the news.

“It was just panic at that point. I couldn’t focus or think until I talked to my parents. I got over there before my other brother. We just came together as a family and we prayed and we cried and we hugged,” Ferguson said.

Sara says her family still doesn’t know exactly what happened that night of the accident. A friend of Sam’s told them they had been at Griffin’s game that night, and the went to a friend’s house to hangout. He left his friends around 1:30am, and the accident happened about an hour later. Sara says it wasn’t Sam’s usually route home.

“There was no phone calls, no texts to draw him out there, we thought he was headed towards the airport, but he wouldn’t be picking anyone up or dropping anyone off,” Ferguson said.

Vander Wall was the cashier manger at Countryside Greenhouse in Allendale. He started there when he was 16 years old and was good friends with almost everyone that worked there.

“I know we always say this when someone is gone, but we took them for granted. With him gone now we are going to realize he’s not replaceable as a friend, as an employee, as a coworker. He’s not replaceable,” Dale Buist, Owner, Countryside Greenhouse said.