TRAVERSE CITY — Diane Shafer's family hopes their tragedy serves as a warning.
Shafer, a Central Lake school assistant and mother of three young girls, died early Friday at Munson Medical Center. She had been in a coma since a Nov. 23 traffic crash along Alba Highway in Antrim County.
Police believe a suspected drunken driver crossed the center line and struck a van driven by Shafer's husband, Paul Shafer. The Shafer family wants to see the suspect face criminal charges, but they also want to remind people of the potentially horrific results of driving drunk.
"We definitely want accountability," said Donna McGinley, Diane's step-sister. "And we'd like to have everyone take away from this a lesson about drinking and driving."
The suspect, 60, from the Detroit area, hasn't yet been charged. Antrim County Prosecutor Charles Koop said he's awaiting a Michigan State Police traffic crash report. That report could shed more light on whether the suspect indeed crossed the center line.
"Mr. Shafer said he was in his lane, and we believe that, but it would be nice to have some confirmation independent of his statements," he said.
State police previously told the Record-Eagle the suspect's truck appeared to cross the center line and slam head-on into the Shafer's van.
Koop also received the suspect's blood-alcohol test results. He would not detail those results, but said the suspect might be eligible to be charged under Michigan's so-called "super drunk" driving charge. The threshold for that charge is a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 or more, slightly more than twice Michigan's legal limit of 0.08.
The suspect, who is out on bond, could be charged as soon as next week, Koop said. It's possible he could face a felony charge of operating while intoxicated causing death.
Shafer died surrounded by friends and family, McGinley said.
"We always had hope, right up until the end," she said. "But we want her to be at peace, and that's where we feel she is now."
Her death poses a tremendous challenge for family members.
"It's been an emotional wreck for the family," McGinley said. "Telling the girls was very difficult."
A spaghetti dinner and silent auction to benefit the Shafer family was scheduled for Friday night. Anyone who wants to help the family in any way is asked to call Shena Miller at (231) 350-3372.
Visitation will be at Grace Community Church in Central Lake on Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. A funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the church. Burial will be in Ellsworth Cemetery.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to contact the Antrim County prosecutor's office at (231) 533-6860.
TRAVERSE CITY — Diane Shafer's family hopes their tragedy serves as a warning.
Weather Service: Lows in single digits next week
A cold front is sweeping through the nation on an unusually large scale, but the Great Lakes are protecting Traverse City from the lowest temperatures, which reached zero degrees in states like the Dakotas.Continued ...
Murder suspect has criminal past
Jason Anthony Ryan, newly charged in the 1996 rape and murder of Kalkaska resident Geraldine Montgomery, is no stranger to the criminal justice system.Continued ...
Sidewalk shoveling debate heats up
Ben Hansen and Chris Bazzett left their Traverse City home for a short walk downtown on the busiest shopping weekend of the year, but they had to walk down the middle of the street to get there.Continued ...
Quarter scheduling proposed
Officials at Traverse City Area Public Schools are practicing their fractions as they play with the district’s high school schedules.Continued ...
Antrim drug probe ends with 31 convictions
A string of Antrim County overdose deaths prompted a four-year drug trafficking probe that netted 31 convictions.Continued ...
Stowe sentenced to jail
Cynthia Stowe’s tearful apology and admission that she has an alcohol problem couldn’t keep her out of jail.Continued ...
- Wednesday, December 4, 2013
GT County board rejects 2014 budget
Grand Traverse County remains without a 2014 budget.Continued ...
Man charged in 1996 slaying of Kalkaska woman
Jason Anthony Ryan lived as a free man for 17 years after a heinous Kalkaska County crime. Ryan’s days of freedom ended Monday after authorities said new DNA tests link him with the 1996 murder of Geraldine Montgomery, 68, who died of asphyxiation after at least one attacker raped her, stuffed her into the trunk of her car and left the vehicle running.Continued ...
Estes sentenced to 18 months probation
Michael Estes’ drunken driving case ended with a judge handing down a sentence crafted to help Traverse City’s mayor “better” his life through 18 months of probation and alcohol treatment programs.Continued ...
Wettest fall on record gives way to abnormal cold
Rain, snow and clouds were more than seemingly endless during the three fall months in northwest Michigan — they also were record setting.Continued ...
Board picks new Benzie County administrator
Beulah resident Karl Sparks hadn’t adjusted well to retirement’s relative inaction.Continued ...
Thrift shop invites kids to shop for family members
Kids are invited to shop for their family at an upcoming Secret Santa Shopping Day at the Women’s Resource Center Thrift Shop.Continued ...
Bats considered for endangered listing
Michigan is one of four states east of the Dakotas free of white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease that targets a nocturnal, flying mammal.Continued ...
- Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Grand Traverse to hold pension bond hearings
The Grand Traverse County Commission will host public hearings on the 2014 budget and a proposal to borrow more than $40 million to cover pension obligation costs during a committee meeting Wednesday night.Continued ...
Police make arrest in 1996 murder
A man is expected to be arraigned today on charges tied to the 1996 rape and murder of a woman in Kalkaska County.Continued ...
Estes sentenced to probation
A judge sentenced Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes to 18 months probation for driving while impaired.Continued ...
GT board: Open meeting violations?
Grand Traverse County’s governing board is under fire for limiting public comment at a contentious budget meeting attended by scores of citizens.Continued ...
GT County deer harvest down
The bucks dropped here. Actually, it’s true of both does and bucks: the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says hunters in Grand Traverse County alone reported 42 percent fewer deer killed this year compared to last year.Continued ...
Citizens turn out to support tribe
One of the first things Holly Thompson’s son noticed about the new Clinch Park was how it had erased any mention of his Native American history.Continued ...
One arrested in Leelanau vehicle thefts
A string of Leelanau County vehicle thefts and larcenies led to a Mount Pleasant man’s arrest and a statewide manhunt for another suspect.Continued ...
Clearing the Record: 12/03/2013
Because of incorrect information provided to the Record-Eagle, the amount of a grant awarded to Traverse City by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust was incorrect in a Nov. 23 story, and the trust's name was misspelled.Continued ...
- Monday, December 2, 2013
Bomb squad called to Cherry Growers
A Cherry Growers Inc. employee’s discovery of a “suspicious device” brought a state police bomb squad to the fruit processor’s Grawn building.Continued ...
Rich resigns from TCAPS board
Applications are being accepted for an open spot on Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Board of Education following the resignation of a trustee and former board president.Continued ...
Authorities investigate 'suspicious device'
Cherry Growers, Inc. is offering a reward for information about a "suspicious device" that brought the bomb squad to its main office.Continued ...
TCAPS board member resigns
Marjorie Rich has announced her resignation from the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education.
- Weather Service: Lows in single digits next week