Hearing adjourned in deadly hit-and-run crash in Courtland Township

Hearing delayed in crash that killed Sand Lake mother

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A hearing for a man accused in a deadly hit-and-run crash that killed a 33-year-old woman and injured her twin sons was adjourned Monday, Oct. 2 to give the defense more time to prepare.

Douglas James Crystal, 36, his neck in a brace, appeared in 63rd District Court for a probable cause hearing on four felony charges stemming from the Sept. 15 crash in Kent County’s Courtland Township.

The 8:25 p.m. crash killed Meranda Baguss of Sand Lake and injured her five-year-old sons, Tony Lee Anthony III and Chauncy James Anthony.

Crystal, who was found at his home on Stout Avenue NE after the crash, faces four charges, including reckless driving causing death and failure to stop at the scene of an accident when at fault, resulting in death. Both are punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Investigators say he was driving a silver Ford pickup north on Ritchie Avenue NE when he ran a stop sign at 15 Mile Road. His pickup hit a Ford Fusion heading west on 15 Mile Road, court records show.

Baguss, who was driving the Fusion, died from her injuries. Her sons were found unconscious in the back seat, court records show. Investigators say Crystal ran from the scene, leaving his pickup behind.

On Sept. 16, deputies were dispatched to a home on Stout Avenue NE, where they found Crystal; he requested medical assistance for head and chest pain, court records show.

He indicated he had been in an accident, but declined to answer further questions without an attorney present, according to court records.

A data recorder retrieved from his pickup indicated the vehicle was traveling 91 miles per hour five seconds prior to the collision, court records show.

“I said this from the beginning, everybody is going through pure hell on this case and it sounds like one of the children is in grave condition right now,’’ 63rd District Court Judge Sara Smolenski said Monday.

Smolenski adjourned the hearing to give Crystal’s attorney more time to prepare. A new hearing date has not been set.

Crystal is free after posting a $500,000 bond.

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