HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) - A German exchange student did not return to an Ottawa County courthouse Wednesday to face charges for allegedly hitting a man with a pickup truck in June.
The student was allegedly behind the wheel of the vehicle with her boyfriend, who was trying to teach her how to drive, when she hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal.
The truck careened toward a fountain near the Keegstra's Dollar Store in Hudsonville. Jason Ronning jumped to push his son out of the way and was hit. He was hospitalized with serious injuries.
The student was due in Ottawa County Juvenile Court on Wednesday. After she failed to show up in court, a warrant for her arrest was issued. Extradition is not being sought, but if she returns to the US, she will be arrested.
Her attorney, RJ Winter, told 24 Hour News 8 that the student had a plane ticket and intended to come back, but her parents wanted assurances that she would not be detained. They could not get those assurances, so the German consulate recommended she not return.
The student is remorseful, her attorney said, and wants to take responsibility. She had intended to apologize to Ronning on Wednesday, but will now do so in writing.
Winter said he is working to reach some sort of agreement that will allow the student to return to Ottawa County to take responsibility, but any scenario would have to be approved by her parents, who are hesitant to allow her to come back.
The student's boyfriend, 18-year-old Cade Cronheim, is charged with driving with a suspended license causing serious injury and allowing an unlicensed operator to drive. He was in court last month and waived his hearing to move ahead toward trial.