An 11-year-old boy died and two of his siblings were hurt in a one car crash Friday morning on the way to school.
The Mason County Sheriff's Department identified the fatal victim as Garrett Lake, of Branch Township. Sheriff Kim Cole said today was Garrett's birthday.
"It strikes the core of our community and our department and when you make that victim an 11-year-old child, it makes it all the worse," said Sheriff Kim Cole. "And it's just kind of, it's a finger in the eye when it's on his birthday even. That just is really really tough. I know the deputies that were out there and many of the firefighters were struggling with the fact that it was a small child and it was his birthday, which just compounded it all the more."
The crash happened on US-10 and Maple Road, a quarter mile West of Taylor Road in Branch Township.
Mason Co. Undersheriff Jody Hartley said 16-year-old Jordan Lake was driving and lost control of the Chevy Blazer on the icy road and hit a tree while heading to Mason County Eastern schools.
Cole said the road was covered with ice Friday morning, and that the emergency crews at the scene even had trouble standing because the road was so slick. All three children were wearing their seatbelts.
Jordan was airlifted from the scene to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. She is in fair condition.
The front seat passenger, 13-year-old McKenna Lake, received minor injuries.
The scene of the accident is now cleared.
Mason County Eastern School Superintendent Paul Shoup released this statement Friday afternoon:
Mason County Eastern School District was informed this morning about a car accident involving three students. School officials immediately called a crisis response team to assist. Staff and students were notified and counselors from CMH, WSESD, and area schools were available for grief counseling. A message was sent to all MCE school families to make them aware of the incident. Counselors will continue to be available in the upcoming days. We lost a wonderful, loving student today who touched everyone in our school community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
"Garrett was a kid that would make everyone laugh, and that's how we're trying to remember him, as a kid who would just make everyone laugh," said 10-year-old Walker Spicer, a fellow classmate and friend of Garrett.