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Police looking into whether teen drove recklessly before hitting, killing jogger

Posted at 11:46 AM, Sep 22, 2015

TALLMADGE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A teen driver could be charged if investigators determine he was driving recklessly in the time before he hit and killed a woman jogging near Coopersville Sunday evening.

Rebecca "Becky" Talsma, 35, was jogging around 7:30 Sunday evening in the area of Johnson Street and 48th Ave. when a 16-year-old driving a pick-up truck tried passing another vehicle when he hit Talsma, according to investigators with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

Capt. John Wolffis, Ottawa County Sheriff's Department, confirmed to FOX 17 investigators are looking into whether the teen was driving recklessly alongside another driver on the road prior to the crash.

"The two vehicles are connected, the drivers knew each other," he said. "I can’t speculate but we’re still working to determine if there was something more than bright sun that might’ve contributed to the crash.”

Wolffis could not provide a timeline of when they expect to know whether the teen driver would be facing charges.

Talsma was a mother to two boys and a girl and she'd been married for 13 years, according to her obituary online.

Those who knew Talsma, who was known as Becky, say she will be missed.

Glenn Horling, a neighbor who says he was the last person to see Talsma, said he heard the accident. "I said hi to her and she said, `Beautiful evening,` and I walked away further and turned around to come back. And in probably four or five minutes, I heard a crash."

“It’s a scary thought that within five minutes after I talked to her, she’s gone. It shows how short life can be," he said.

Horling told FOX 17 on Sunday he saw the two vehicles driving prior to the crash and the drivers appeared to be "goofing around."

"They are goofing around and going faster than they should've been going," he said. "I thought maybe he (the driver) was trying to get ahead of (Talsma) at the corner, but then I heard the crash... she'd been hit."

Beyond possible reckless driving, investigators are also looking into whether the teen was blinded by the sun at the time and didn't see the jogger.