REYNOLDS TOWNSHIP — Ashley Sprick usually takes the expressway when she visits her hometown, but Memorial Day didn’t go as planned this year.
Sprick, who lives in Alpena, drove with her boyfriend, Ritchie Soltysiak, that Monday to Howard City to visit their children for the holiday. The couple’s Pontiac G6 had started jostling as they neared Montcalm County, so Sprick exited U.S. 131 at the White Cloud exit, which proved to be a wise decision as one of the vehicle’s tires suddenly detached without warning.
A relative drove over and helped the couple put a new tire on the car. As 9 p.m. neared, the couple continued toward Howard City with Sprick deciding to turn down Reed Road near Yankee Road, a route she doesn’t usually take because the road is rough there.
“We were driving and I saw a vehicle flipped over on the side of the road,” she recalled. “I thought it was from an old accident, but my boyfriend told me to go back and check.”
The couple found a Ford Explorer Sport Trac that had rolled over into a guardrail and then into a tree. Inside the upside-down vehicle, they found Joshua Grospin, 17, bloody and unconscious, about a mile from home.
“He was unconscious when we got down there,” Sprick said. “He finally came to and we coached him on how to get out of the vehicle. We took him over to our vehicle so he could sit down. I called 911 because he was just bleeding and disoriented. It was pretty scary.”
Sprick said she’s never had to call 911 before.
“I normally take the highway and for some reason, I turned down that road,” she said. “It was a weird a feeling wondering if we hadn’t turned down that road what would have happened.”
“The ambulance showed up within three minutes,” she added. “I was amazed the first responders were there that quick.”
Nickole Grospin of Howard City said her son has no memory of the accident or what caused it. According to the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, the cause of the accident is unknown, but alcohol is not suspected as a factor.
“The last thing he remembers is stopping at the gas station in Morley,” Grospin said. “He doesn’t remember the accident or the ambulance ride.”
Joshua, who has two sisters and is a student at Morley-Stanwood High School, is especially close to his five nieces and nephews. He sustained a severe concussion, bruised lungs and other injuries in the accident, but he is expected to recover, according to his mother.
Grospin wanted to thank whoever called 911 for her son, but she didn’t know how to track them down, so she posted a message on Facebook asking for help. The Daily News was able to connect Grospin and Sprick with telephone numbers Tuesday evening.
“I just can’t even put into words … it’s not a busy road … he could’ve suffered a lot longer,” said Grospin through tears as she tried to express her gratitude to Sprick. “I feel like I owe her my life. I had to know who it was.
“Thank you,” Grospin emphasized.