ALLENDALE, MI — (Mlive) – A 19-year-old Zeeland man who struck a utility pole while riding a snowmobile has died.
At 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, the Kent County Medical Examiner’s Office notified Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies that Tyler John “TJ” VanKoevering had died.
VanKoevering’s fatal snowmobile crash occurred about 11:40 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19, on Pierce Street west of 64th Avenue in Allendale.
VanKoevering was riding alone with no other snowmobiles.
The crash caused the pole it struck to break and power lines to fall into the road, police said. No other people were injured.
VanKoevering was taken to Spectrum Health Butterworth hospital. Police said he was not wearing a helmet.
VanKoevering had been a prominent football and basketball player for Unity Christian High School in Hudsonville.
“It’s a difficult thing,” said Unity Christian football coach Craig Tibbe. “The connection with the community… That family is very closely to Unity, but also probably one of the tightest families that you have around. They regularly meet together for Sunday afternoon dinners. It’s going to be very difficult, the suddenness of everything.”
VanKoevering was the second of four siblings, with an older sister, a younger sister, and a younger brother, Tibbe said.
“They’re a tremendous family,” he continued. “It’s pretty difficult news to hear.”
The crash remains under investigation.