GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Business owners and witnesses of a deadly motorcycle crash Tuesday say it was traumatic and that they are concerned about speed and reckless driving downtown.
“It was loud and scary and intense,” said Sarah Cash, a worker at a nearby business.
The crash happened Tuesday in the area of Fulton Street and Jefferson Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. Three motorcycles crashed into a van and another car, injuring three passengers and killing one of the bikers.
Wednesday, a display was in place near the intersection, remembering the 31-year-old Grand Rapids motorcyclist Wade Freeman.
“It’s just sad to think about what happened yesterday,” said Cash.
Police say speed was a factor in the crash.
“We have pedestrians that work all downtown all the time and it’s just not safe for anybody to be speeding through town,” said Cash.
She was working at her store and had the front door open on the summery day when she heard the collision.
“All of a sudden, I heard brakes, screeching and then a huge crash,” Cash said.
Instead of standing by, Cash grabbed a phone, ran out to the corner dialing 9-1-1 as she walked to the scene.
“I told them that there was what looked like a two-car accident with three motorcycles involved and one of the motorcycles exploded,” explained Cash.
Restaurant manager Austin Seamans also saw the aftermath.
“I heard an explosion coming in from down Fulton. I was pulling in toward the end and everything was just, like, on fire by the motorcycle,” said Seamans.
Both Cash and Seamans say motorcycles speeding is a problem downtown.
“It sounds like they are going very fast on the surface streets here in downtown. Luckily, yesterday’s accident, they were wearing helmets, but not that it really helped with going that fast,” said Cash.
“You always see them fly by and you can always hear them too. It’s definitely 25 (mph) down here, but to be going that fast and loud is not good,” said Seamans.
Seamans and Cash say another motorcyclist crashed and say the driver flew up the block on Fulton Street.
Sarah’s husband, Butch Cash, said only a small number of motorcyclists drive recklessly.
“There are a handful out of, however many we have here in the state, that just dart around weaving in and out of traffic, not paying attention to traffic laws or their surroundings. And unfortunately, that’s what happened yesterday,” said Butch Cash.
Sarah Cash’s action of being the first call to police can make a huge difference in a crash where aid is needed.
“I was kind of surprised when the operator said that I was the first one to call about it. Just because this was a major accident and when I ran out, I did see people recording on their phones and I saw people on their phones but apparently not calling 911,” said Sarah Cash.
She worked quickly with dispatchers to get ambulances to help those on scene with injuries.
The Cashes say we all need to be mindful of everyone’s safety.
“All the drivers just need to be safe and watch for other people driving whether you are in a motorcycle or in your car,” said Cash.
Grand Rapids police say several calls were made before the crash reporting the motorcyclists speeds.
It’s imperative that all drivers follow the rules of the road and do not go above the speed limit, as a crash can turn fatal and have lasting consequences.