Georgetown Township -- The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office identified Steven Paauwe of Jenison as the victim of a crash that occurred Friday night. The accident happened on Cottonwood Drive near Sycamore Street. Investigators said Paauwe died after his vehicle hit construction machinery head-on.
The construction zone happened to be one of the projects disrupted by a labor dispute affecting road construction statewide. Before the lockout, the county road commission previously stated the project is scheduled to wrap up by the end of October.
The tragic accident happened directly in front of people's homes, including Joyce Grummett.
"This whole thing was just engulfed in flames," Grummett pointed to the machine.
She recalled, "It was like an explosion. It was a noise so loud, a bang that I've never heard before."
It’s not clear how Paauwe ended up in the closed lanes. The Ottawa County Road Commission said it's up to the contractor to make any construction area safe for motorists. FOX 17 reached out to that company for comment but haven't heard back. The open and closed lanes are divided by barrels that line the road and signage is posted throughout the construction zone.
The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office is investigating.