Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

May 1, 2013

'The good do die young': Crash kills Grayling senior, two others

KALKASKA — Louis Menard loved playing euchre, hunting, fishing and cheering on the University of Michigan Wolverines.

His father, Louie, said his son was an outgoing person, a 4.0 GPA student on his way to study engineering at U-M. On Sunday, the Grayling High School senior celebrated his 18th birthday.

“He was a good kid. He never got into serious trouble. He always listened to us,” Louie Menard said, choking back tears. “I guess the good do die young.”

Menard, Grayling High School golf coach Jason Potter, 31, and Cassandra Stapleton, 27, of Kalkaska, died in a two-vehicle collision Monday in Kalkaska County that injured six others.

Potter was driving a silver Ford Freestar with six members of the Grayling High School golf team headed to a golf tournament at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. Their minivan collided with a white Ford Windstar driven by Rhonda Mitchell, 45, of Kalkaska, at the intersection of County Road 612 and Crawford Lake Road NE in Excelsior Township.

Stapleton was Mitchell’s daughter. Mitchell’s granddaughter, 3, was uninjured in the crash, but still admitted to the hospital.

Michigan State Police Capt. Robert Lesneski said Mason Krey, 18, and Dallas Johnson, 25, were among those in the golf team’s minivan, along with three minors whom police refused to identify.

Three passengers were ejected from the golf team’s minivan, including Menard. One was found pinned under the white Windstar, which was on fire after rolling several times.

Initial police reports after the crash had incorrect information about Potter’s age and the driver of the white Windstar.

Crawford AuSable Schools Superintendent Joe Powers said the accident was “devastating” for the families involved. Five members of the Grayling golf team are receiving treatment in Munson Medical Center, as is Mitchell.

“We have two boys in critical condition,” Powers said. “They are in a medically induced coma. We’re hopeful they will be able to pull out of it. Our other three members have very serious injuries, but we believe they are in stable condition.”

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