School Closings and Cancellations

Man ‘just trying to help’ dies following crash on US-131

William Wilson-Wade, 24 (courtesy photo).

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A man critically injured in a Friday night crash has died, his family confirms. It appeared the crash was caused by him merging too slowly onto the highway, police said.

William Wilson-Wade, 24, died Saturday in the hospital, relatives confirmed to FOX 17.

The crash happened just before midnight Friday when police say a vehicle merging slowly from the shoulder onto northbound US-131, just south of West River Drive, was rear-ended by a vehicle driving full speed that was unable to stop.

Wilson-Wade was driving his friend’s car at the time of the crash, according to relatives. He’d been called by his friend who needed help after being pulled over. Wade’s relatives suspect the friend was found to be driving on a suspended license, so Wilson-Wade was called to drive the friend’s car home from where it was parked on the shoulder of the highway.

“He was just trying to help someone, that was his spirit,” said cousin Stephanie Johnson. Wilson-Wade’s girlfriend dropped him off at the friend’s car, she said.

However, when Wilson-Wade tried merging back into highway traffic he struggled to get the car up to speed because it was a manual transmission, Johnson said.

The vehicle was hit from behind by another vehicle traveling at highway speed. Wilson-Wade was critically injured, but no one else was injured in the crash.

“He was doing what he does, he would help anyone,” Johnson said. “He was a helper.”

On Friday, Michigan State Police told FOX 17 the driver of the merging vehicle was at fault, not the highway driver.

Wilson-Wade, who was not married and had no children, was a 2010 graduate of Forest Hills Central, according to Johnson. He also attended Central Michigan University.

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