Sgt.: Car hit 95 mph before crash that killed Wayland teen

Kent County

An undated courtesy photo of Ethan Mutschler. (Kubiak-Cook Funeral Services)

BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A 20-year-old man is charged with reckless driving causing death for a crash near Byron Center that killed a beloved football player from Wayland High School.

Investigators say Colter Brannon Rounds’s Volvo topped 95 mph on southbound Wilson Avenue seconds before colliding with 17-year-old Ethan Mutschler’s Ford Taurus on July 12.

In court records obtained by News 8 Wednesday, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department said Mutschler had stopped at the stop sign on 92nd Street and was making his way across Wilson Avenue when Rounds’ Volvo crested the nearby hill and crashed into the driver’s side of Mutschler’s car.

The speed limit on that section of Wilson Avenue is 55 mph. Detectives said Rounds first told them he was traveling 65-70 mph when he passed a different car between 84th Street and 92nd shortly before the crash. In a deputy interview days later, Rounds allegedly said he reached a speed of 81 mph to pass the car and was coasting when he spotted and braked for Mutschler’s car, which Rounds said had moved slowly into the intersection from the west.

However, data recorded by Rounds’ Volvo told a different story. The sergeant who downloaded the car’s airbag control module data said it showed Rounds was traveling 95.1 mph five seconds before the crash. The data, which is based on tire rotation, indicated Rounds didn’t brake until 1.5 seconds before the impact, and collided with Mutschler’s Taurus at a speed of 83.9 mph.

The crash pushed both vehicles to the southeast corner of the intersection and Mutschler died at the scene.

Detectives said the gouge mark, scrapes and tire marks on the roadway were “indicative of a violent collision.”

State records show Rounds didn’t have any tickets before the crash.

Rounds’ case was bound over to circuit court in September for a trial. His next hearing was originally scheduled for Oct. 22, but has been delayed until Oct. 29.

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