Driver pleads to felony in connection to deadly crash.

September 12, 2022


Driver pleads to felony in connection to deadly crash.

HART — The driver in a crash that resulted in the death of a 21-year-old Hart man, April 2, pleaded guilty to a felony of reckless driving causing death in Oceana County’s 51st Circuit Court Monday, Sept. 12, according to Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon.

In exchange for his plea, Ryan Joshua Allen, 21, of Shelby, will serve one year in jail, said Bizon.

Hayden Zaverl died in the single-vehicle crash shortly after 12:30 a.m. on West Fish Road near South 44th Avenue in Benona Township.

“The victim’s family was in court and agreed to the resolution,” said the prosecutor.

Zaverl was among four passengers in a 2013 Ford F-150 pickup truck that went off the road “and hit a series of trees,” said Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast. Zaverl was a backseat passenger on the driver’s side. 

Allen and the other passengers were injured. Allen was airlifted from the scene by Aeromed and transported to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.

“Mr. (Terry) Nolan, who is Ryan Allen’s attorney, indicated that he is still dealing with some injuries from the crash,” said Bizon.

“As tragic as Mr. Allen’s case is — with a young person who is deceased — I talked to the family and they agreed to this resolution to ensure some certainty. That’s why the Zaverl family agreed to this resolution.”

A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.

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