Somber scene at crash site where teen died

January 8, 2024

Somber scene at crash site where teen died

By Allison Scarbrough, News Editor

GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP — A ghost bike memorial was placed at the scene in remembrance of an Amish teenager, Kari Rose Miller, 16, who was killed Friday evening, while riding a bicycle on Skeels Road near 192nd Avenue just north of the Muskegon and Oceana counties line, and several horse-drawn buggies trotted down the road Monday afternoon, Jan. 8, presumably out of respect for the young life tragically lost.

Miller was killed Friday at approximately 6:30 p.m., Jan. 5, and her 17-year-old brother was seriously injured after they were hit by an SUV, according to the Michigan State Police. 

“Preliminary investigation shows that an SUV, driven by a 35-year-old female, was traveling westbound on Skeels Road when it struck two bicyclists who were also traveling westbound,” MSP posted on Twitter Friday evening. “A 15-year-old female bicyclist was pronounced deceased on scene while a 17-year-old male was transported to a local hospital for serious injuries. The teens were siblings and from the Amish community. This is an ongoing investigation and updates will be provided as they become available.”

Michigan State Police troopers from the Hart post continue to investigate the fatal crash, according to Spl./Lt. Michelle Robinson, Sixth District public information officer.

MSP has released few details about the crash, such as the names of the individuals involved. OCP has sent a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the accident report.

“The report will go to the prosecutor, and ultimately it will be the prosecutor’s decision” whether to press charges against the driver, said Robinson. Alcohol and drugs are not believed to be factors in the crash, she said. “The driver was being very cooperative.”

Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon didn’t mince words about his disappointment for not being contacted by MSP about the tragic crash.

“At this point in time, I know nothing about the incident from Friday night, because the state police never called me or my office,” said Bizon. “They chose instead to make a press release to Twitter and answer various media posts. But my office has received no information other than what has been released on social media. So therefore, I know nothing about this incident.”

According to an obituary posted by Kroeze-Wolffis Funeral Home in Fremont, Miller was the daughter of David and Ruth Miller, Jr. She was born on Sept. 18, 2007 in Glasgow, Ky. and attended the Old Order Amish Church with her parents. In addition to her parents, she is survived by her siblings, Mary Elizabeth and Kenneth Miller, Ann Marie Miller, Adam Miller, James Allen Miller, Gracia Ruth Miller, all of Holton, Michigan; her grandparents, David A.D. and Marilyn Miller, Enos and Lydia Shrock; and her great-grandmothers, Elizabeth Miller and Mary Shrock.

A funeral service for Miller was Monday morning, Jan. 8, at the Amos Troyer Residence, 8901 S. 184th St. with Bishop Eli Beechy officiating. A visitation took place at the Troyer residence Sunday, Jan. 7. Interment will take place at the New Lebanon Amish Cemetery in Sandy Lake, Penn.

The ghost bike memorial says: “Beyond the Sunset. Dear daughter, sister, teacher and friend. Kari Rose 9/18/07 (to) 1/5/24.” MSP stated that Miller was 15 years old, but according to her obituary and memorial inscription, she was 16.

“Ghost bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street,” according to www.ghostbikes.org. “A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists’ right to safe travel.”

Paul Kissel installed the ghost bike Monday morning, said Karen Dunnam, who administers the Michigan Ghost Bikes Facebook group. Dunnam said she visited the site later Monday and added a sign. “During my visit, I discovered part of a bicycle light along the shoulder.”

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