tcr crash photo

A Pontiac minivan and Jeep Cherokee are towed from the scene of a four-vehicle crash Thursday at the intersection of West Silver Lake Road and Secor Road.

GRAWN — A St. Johns man was critically injured in a four-vehicle crash that closed a busy Garfield Township road for hours.

The crash occurred Thursday at the intersection of West Silver Lake Road and Secor Road. Local resident Steve Robertson returned from work not long before the 6:30 a.m. crash, but slept through the sound of the collision that his wife initially thought was gunfire.

“She thought someone was shooting,” he said.

The noise was multiple collisions a few hundred feet down Silver Lake Road. Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputies closed the road and rerouted traffic for almost five hours to reconstruct the crash.

Authorities believe the crash began when the driver of Pontiac minivan, a 23-year-old Beulah man, traveled east on Secor Road and drove into the back of a Chevrolet pickup truck stopped at the West Silver Lake Road intersection.

This caused a chain reaction of collisions -- the minivan rolled into the intersection and collided with a northbound Jeep Cherokee before sliding down an embankment. The Jeep was then struck by a GMC Jimmy that was headed south on Silver Lake Road.

The Jeep’s driver, a 33-year-old St. Johns man, received a serious head injury and was transported to Munson Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition. The minivan’s driver was also transported to Munson Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Marrow said this the first serious crash at the busy intersection in recent years. Robertson said collisions at the intersection near his home were once common.

“The last few years there’s been nothing serious, maybe a few fender benders,” he said.

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