No charges filed in crash that killed DJ, police dispatcher

Kalamazoo Ave. near 52nd Street

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Kent County Prosecutor has decided to not file any charges against a driver in a crash that killed a Grand Rapids radio personality and police dispatcher.

John Wiechenthal was killed when his Chevy Impala was rear-ended by a Ford F-150 pickup truck on Kalamazoo Avenue at about 52nd Street SE on December 21, 2017. Wiechenthal was a former DJ on B-93 radio and an Ionia County dispatcher.

The driver of the pickup truck, Mark Hokzema, suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries. Police say that Hokzema did not have any alcohol or drugs in his system, but also did not remember the crash.

Police found out that Hokzema had had brain surgery for a tumor on November 27, 2017 and that there was a risk of seizures following the surgery.  Hokzema had been put on restrictions to stay sedentary, but he was not prevented from driving.  Hokzema’s discharge instructions said it was permissible for him to drive after he was off his medications, which lasted five days.  Hokzema told police he did not remember anything after turning onto Kalamazoo Avenue from 44th Street.

Police reported that a data recorder in the truck show that Hokzema did not brake and was still accelerating even after he hit Wiechenthal’s vehicle.  Five seconds before the crash he was going 87 miles per hour and at time of impact, he was going 99 miles per hour.

Prosecutor Chris Becker says that Hokzema has a previous spotless driving record, including no tickets or reports of bad driving behavior.  Becker says that the incident was a medical event and there was no criminal liability and says that this was just a horrible accident.

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1 Comment

  • learnedmylesson25

    He never should have been allowed to drive.The same idea applies to mentally ill individuals (on medication),getting a gun.If you are not healthy,these privileges should not be approved.What’s the hurry in allowing people to drive after brain surgery?Make it a month to see how they’re recovering.