Man severely burned in suicidal van fire dies, was scheduled in court today.

April 14, 2015
The scene of Monday's deadly van fire.

The scene of Monday’s deadly van fire.

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

CRYSTAL VALLEY (Oceana Co.) — A Crystal Valley man who was severely burned in a van fire Monday afternoon, April 13, when he attempted suicide by igniting the Ford Econoline in which he was living has died, Lt. Craig Mast of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

Joseph Lee Gieske, 54, of 1465 E. Mill Rd., was transported by Oceana County EMS to Mercy Health Lakeshore Campus in Shelby, where he was airlifted for treatment. Gieske died shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday, Mast said.

Gieske was set for sentencing Tuesday afternoon in 51st Circuit Court in Ludington for a third-offense drunk driving conviction, court personnel stated.

“We were led to believe he was staying in (the van),” Mast said. It was parked in his ex-wife’s driveway, he said. As of Tuesday morning, Mast was not sure where Gieske was airlifted, but he believed it was Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.

Crystal Township and Walkerville fire departments were dispatched to the scene at 1:43 p.m. When firefighters arrived, the van was fully engulfed in flames, Mast said. They were able to pull him from the fiery vehicle.

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