GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Crews on Sunday morning pulled a man’s body from Plaster Creek in Grand Rapids near where a car crashed into the water the previous weekend.
The Grand Rapids Police Department says the body is believed to be that of 25-year-old Austin Huisingh of Hudsonville, to whom the car was registered, though that had not yet been confirmed. An examination by the medical examiner and a dental records check should confirm the identity this week.
The crash happened on the night of March 16 near where Plaster Creek flows into the Grand River. Police say the car crossed the centerline, jumped the curb, went through the guard rail and then crashed into the water. Police said Friday they believed Huisingh had not survived.
Crews were able to haul the car out of the creek the day after the crash, but dangerous conditions prevented them from going in to search for the body until Sunday. GRPD said the body was found under the Market Avenue bridge.
Huisingh was a nurse technician at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids. Co-workers said he always brought a positive energy to the third shift, remembering his bright smile.
“He’s just someone that everyone loves to be around and he really made everyone feel like a family,” co-worker April Andrews said Sunday when she went to the bridge to add to the makeshift memorial of candles, flowers and balloons growing there.
She and other co-workers left a Mary Free Bed T-shirt covered with messages to Huisingh tied to the guard rail.
She said she was stunned to hear of the crash.
“I just couldn’t believe it. We’re the same age and we both grew up around here and it’s just tragic,” she said.
Andrews said Huisingh wanted to become a recreational therapist.
“I thought he should go into nursing,” she said. “He’s just so kind and compassionate and he’s so good with patients.”
Co-workers said they want Huisingh’s parents to know how much they valued him.
“They need to know that he was really loved. Everyone really loved working with him. Patients loved having him. Everyone loved being around him. He will really be missed,” Andrews said.
**Correction: A previous version of this article stated the crash happened March 17. It actually happened March 16. The text has been updated. We regret the error.