Elderly Howard City man remains unconscious after motorcycle-minivan accident

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 3:08 pm on Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Betty and William MacTavish of Howard City were injured when a motorcycle struck their minivan Sunday night in downtown Howard City. Pictured is a file photo of the MacTavishes when they were named grand marshals of the Howard City Harvest Festival in 2010. — File photo


HOWARD CITY — An elderly Howard City man is clinging to life after a motorcycle-minivan crash Sunday night that left the motorcyclist dead.

The accident occurred around 7:04 p.m. at the intersection of Ensley and Shaw streets.

According to Howard City Police Chief Steve DeWitt, Tony Magoon, 46, of Morley was riding a 2003 Harley-Davidson motorcycle southbound on Ensley at a very high rate of speed. According to witnesses, Magoon ran a red light, striking an eastbound 2005 Ford Freestar minivan on the driver’s side. The impact caused the van to roll over onto its roof in the intersection.

Magoon was not wearing a helmet. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

William and Betty MacTavish, both in their 80s, were in the minivan. William suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported from the scene by Aeromed to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he remains unconscious in critical condition today.

Betty suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was transported by Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services to the hospital.

The MacTavishes are well known and loved in the Howard City community. Betty grew up in Howard City, while William, a Detroit native, moved to the Lakeview-Six Lakes area in 1950. He was drafted into the Army soon after and sent to Germany in 1951. He was discharged in 1952 and returned home.

Betty purchased a 1953 Oldsmobile at Burleson Car Agency in Lakeview in the summer of 1954 … and that’s where she met William. They were married 10 months after they met on March 19, 1955, at the church on Howard City’s Main Street — now Zellie’s Opry House.

Williams worked for MichCon Gas Co. and also served on the Howard City Village Council and volunteered for the Howard City Fire Department. Betty worked at several local businesses, including secretary at MacNaughton Elementary School. The couple retired together in the 1980s. They have two sons and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The MacTavishes led the now-defunct Charity Fest parade in Howard City decades ago and were more recently honored as grand marshals of the Howard City Harvest Festival in 2010.

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