Man dies after crashing into ambulance, 3 vehicles, and garage

By: Michelle Anthony Email
By: Michelle Anthony Email

One person is dead after a frightening series of crashes Monday night in Van Buren County.

Police say 58-year-old Everett Painter of Lawton, Michigan first hit a Coloma EMS ambulance going westbound in the 23000-block of M-43 in Almena Township just after 8:30 p.m. Officers say the EMS workers, Mark Anthony Haney and Jessica Zirkle, weren’t injured.

Painter continued driving at a high rate of speed, hitting two other vehicles in the 26000-block of M-43. The first driver, 34-year-old Michelle Smith of Grand Junction, MI, wasn’t injured; but the second driver, 40-year-old Jay Michael Oakley of Portage, MI, was taken to the hospital with back and neck injuries.

Police say after those collisions, Painter continued on and hit a fourth vehicle in the 30000-block of M-43. The name of the driver in that vehicle hasn’t been released, but they weren’t injured.

Then police say Painter’s vehicle left the road, rolled several times, and hit an attached garage of a residence. The homeowners were home at the time, but no one was injured.

Painter had to be extricated from his vehicle with the Jaws of Life, but he died at the scene. He was driving a 1995 Saturn Vue.

Police don't yet know if alcohol was involved. All four crashes remain under investigation.

The Van Buren County sheriff’s deputies were assisted by Michigan State Police, the Paw Paw Fire Department, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, and Gobles/Pine Grove Fire Department.

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