TYRONE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) - Kent County Deputies say winter weather and alcohol were both factors in an accident that killed an 18-year-old driver early Friday morning in Tyrone Township.
The fiery crash happened just after 1 a.m. at 18 Mile Road NW near Fruitridge.
Deputies say a Pontiac car driven by 18-year-old Brittany Snyder slid of the road and hit a tree. Snyder was trapped in the car when it caught fire and she was killed.
Her 18-year-old passenger was able to get to a nearby house to call for help. The passenger was last listed in critical condition at Spectrum Butterworth in Grand Rapids.
Brittany was the spark of life for two parents who had already lost their only other child, Nathan, three years ago to a heart malfunction.
"What kept them going was there. They loved that girl," said Roger Synder, Jason's father.
But Gail and Jason Synder's world came crashing down early Friday morning, after Brittany's car ran off the road, crashed into a tree, and went up in flames, just two days after they barely survived their own fiery crash down in Florida.
"They no sooner got out, and the truck burst into flames," said Roger. "They should have been dead in that."
"It's like relief to grief in two days," said Amber Snyder, Brittany's aunt.
Roger says the irony makes him sick. Gail and Jason are truck drivers. They traveled to Florida, where they planned to take their first vacation --a cruise -- since their son's death.
"A fiery accident, here this and then my granddaughter dies in a fiery accident. Their child, two days later, unbelievable," he said.
Roger says the phone call to his son was heartbreaking. "He didn't believe it, he's in denial."
"And now he has to deal with this on top of that, and now bury his daughter next to his son," said Joe Snyder, Jason's brother.
Her family says she had everything going for her. "She was a really good kid, smart, straight A student," said Roger and Amber.
Brittany was a freshman at Everest Institute, studying to go into the medical field. Now, her parents must come home to deal not only with their own medical and auto bills, they also have to find the money to honor their daughter. They have no income now with the loss of their semi-truck.
"Now she's going to need a headstone for her," said Amber.
Gail and Jason haven't been able to afford to buy a headstone for Nathan, so the family would really appreciate any support to help buy stones for both children now.
They set up an account at Choice One Bank. You can donate to the Synder Family Benefit Fund.
By Stacia Kalinoski