Loved ones remember teen killed in crash

Kent County

ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A recent Grand Rapids Christian High School student died after a car crash in Ada Township on Saturday, deputies say.

Police identified the driver Monday as 18-year-old John Holmes. His friends tell News 8 he was also known as “Big John.”

The crash happened around 11 p.m. on Pettis Avenue NE near 2 Mile Road NE. Friends say Holmes was leaving a party.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department says Holmes was driving north on Pettis Avenue when the car rolled over and caught on fire.

The scene following a deadly crash on Pettis Avenue in Ada Township. (June 22, 2020)

Holmes died at the scene.

“I wanted to come by here today and see if I could make sense of this tragedy,” said David Harrison as he stood next to charred remains of trees. “It’s just a tragedy. You just wonder why God takes such good people.”

Harrison is the father of Holmes’ best friend. He says the two spent the last week at the Harrison family cottage and were together Saturday night before the crash.

“He was bigger than life and that’s why it’s so hard for everybody to understand that something so big and strong could be so fragile and be there one second and half hour later be gone,” said Harrison of the crash.

Holmes played basketball and football at GRCHS for four years. The 18-year-old was planning to play football at Brown University in the fall.

“A young man headed to Brown let’s you know that he was just as competitive in the classroom as he was on the field,” said head football coach Rueben Riley.

Riley says he and the team are still processing the loss.

“To have your life cut short and not be able to fulfill all you wanted to do but leave such a footprint on our football program,” Riley started. “I think while God had him on Earth. He did what he was supposed to do.”

Friends and family will be gathering at Eagles stadium on Tuesday at 7 p.m. to honor Holmes’ life.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department says the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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