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Woman, 24, killed in Lowell area crash


LOWELL, Mich. (WZZM) -- A woman is dead following a crash in Lowell Wednesday morning.

The Kent County Sheriff's Department says Kristina Garza, 24, was a passenger in a 1999 Ford Taurus  when it crashed into a tree.

The driver of the vehicle, Brian Welch, 22, was taken by ambulance to Butterworth Hospital where he is listed in critical condition Wednesday afternoon.

Around 7 a.m., an off-duty Grand Rapids police officer saw the wrecked vehicle and called it in. The car struck a tree near the intersection of Vergennes Street and Alden Nash Avenue. That is just east of the high school.

The car was going west on Vergennes when it went off the road and hit a tree.

The crash remains under investigation. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor.


Child on bicycle hit by truck


LOWELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- An 8-year-old went to the hospital Monday after he rode his bike into the path of a truck.

It happened just before noon on Veronica Street in Lowell Township.

Police say the child came around a corner and caught the driver of the landscaping truck by surprise.

The child's leg was broken.


Kent County Youth Fair gets underway in Lowell


LOWELL, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Kent County Youth Fair is gearing up for another year of family fun. The fair kicked off its 81st year Monday and offers a wide range of activities for the entire family.

"There is so much to do here. We have rides. We have animals. We have food,
said Bruce Doll, vice president of the fair. "Just lots of family fun and affordable."

"Everyday we have great activities. Tonight we have the youth talent show which is amazing," Doll said. "Tuesday is our Reading for Rides Day. It is an amazing program where kids can read books and come and ride free in the afternoon. We have a special show after that. Wednesday night we have entertainment. We have the Kari Lynch Band. We have an auction and bluegrass. It is chock full of fun and things to do."

EF-0 tornado confirmed in Alto overnight


BOWNE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- The National Weather Service confirms a tornado touchdown overnight in southeastern Kent County.

The storm, rated an EF-0, stuck around 1:15 a.m. in the area of 84th Street & Morse Lake Rd SE near Alto. It had winds estimated to be 75 to 85 mph, cutting a .8-mile path about 50 yards wide. The tornado damaged the roof of one home, the National Weather Service said, and snapped or uprooted trees and caused extensive damage to a corn field.

No tornado watch or warning was posted at the time; however, Kent County was under a severe thunderstorm warning.

There were power outages overnight affecting more than 2,000 Consumers Energy customers along Fuller Avenue south of I-196 in Grand Rapids, 2,100 customers in the Cutlerville area, nearly 600 customers in Alpine and Plainfield townships, and more than 900 customers in the Rockford area.

Oversize vehicle damages Fallasburg Bridge


VERGENNES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A commercial driver is facing possible charges for damaging the historic Fallasburg Bridge near Lowell.

Authorities say that on June 12 a driver trying to make a delivery attempted to maneuver his oversize vehicle across the 144-year-old wooden bridge. The Sheriff's Department says that caused about $10,000 in damage.

The driver faces possible charges of operating a commercial vehicle with a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident.

In 2013, another driver was fined $5,500 for damaging the bridge when he crossed it in his 31-ton cement truck.


Two arrested for Lowell vehicle thefts


LOWELL, Mich. (WZZM) -- Lowell police have arrested two men and identified a third person in connection with seven vehicle larcenies.

The crimes involved vehicles that were left unlocked in driveways or parking lots. In one case, the suspects took a vehicle and then brought it back.

Items taken from the vehicles included money, tobacco, and electronics.

After receiving several tips, police arrested Casey HeyKoop from Lowell, Timothy Petraroi from Georgia; they face charges of auto theft and felony larceny. Petraroi was arrested at the Greyhound Bus depot in Grand Rapids as he was trying to leave the state.

Mother of two, fighting cancer with husband, dies


(WZZM) -- A Caledonia mother of two, fighting cancer alongside her husband, has passed away.

Shelby Offrink died Sunday, June 28 at the age of 31. She was battling stage four glioblastoma, a rare and an incurable form of cancer in her spine and brain.

ID=22972245Offrink was diagnosed shortly after giving birth to her second daughter, Hazel who's now 18 months old. She had an older daughter, Maeve, 4.

Her husband Ben is also fighting Hodgkins lymphoma for the third time. He is undergoing experimental chemotherapy treatment in hopes of going into remission so he can undergo a bone marrow transplant.