Speed blamed for crash that killed one, injured four teens

Posted at 5:18 AM, Apr 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-10 05:18:44-04

UPDATE: Police now say that the driver in the crash was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Police earlier did say they believed drugs and speed were a factor.  Also, Alyssa Eggerding died Monday due to her injuries in the crash.

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The Kent County Sheriff's Department responded to the accident at 3:45 a.m. at the intersection of Vinton Avenue NW and Nine Mile Road NW. Crews closed Vinton Avenue between Nine Mile and 10 Mile Road for nearly five hours as they investigated.

5 teens seriously injured in crash.

Police say the driver — Armando Mendoza, 17, of Alpine Township — was traveling northbound on Vinton in a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix at a high speed when his car went off the road and hit a tree at the intersection's northeast corner.

The vehicle also contained four other teens — Alyssa Eggerding, 16, of Alpine Township; Kaitlin Keeler, 15, of Alpine Township; Olivia Lawrence, 17, of Sparta; and Alyssa Naughton, 16, of Walker. Police said all five suffered serious injuries.

Eggerding, Keeler, Lawrence and Naughton  were pinned inside the vehicle, were extricated and were transported by ambulance to the hospital. Mendoza was airlifted to the hospital.

All five were taken to Spectrum Health's Butterworth campus in downtown Grand Rapids.

Vinton Avenue NW and Nine Mile Road NW

Naugton, Mardonez and Eggerding were listed in critical condition Sunday evening. Lawerence and Keeler were listed in serious condition.

Friends say the circumstances leading up to the crash is out of character for the teens.

"I don't want anyone to think differently of them because they are really good kids," said Devin Miller, a friend of all five teens. "They do really good in school, have a lot of friends, people that care about them, and I just want them to make better choices next time."

Friends and family gathered at the Maranatha Bible Church in Comstock Park on Sunday night to pray for the for victims and their families.

Members from the Alpine Township Fire Department was among those in attendance. Jeremy Kelly and his team were one of the first responders on scene early Sunday morning.

"The main purpose is as our job as firefighters in the community is to mainly support the community," Kelly said. "What better way to show support to the community than to come out to this prayer vigil.”

Police say the investigation will be forwarded to the Kent County Prosecutor's Office for review to determine whether charges will be filed.