Scottville man charged in Dec. 2017 traffic death of Ben Compeau.

December 7, 2018

Scene of the Dec. 1, 2017 fatal crash.

Scottville man charged in Dec. 2017 traffic death of Ben Compeau.


LUDINGTON — Laurance Russell Adams, Jr., 23, of 104 E. Third St., Scottville, has been charged with the misdemeanor of moving violation causing death in connection to the December death of Benjamin Compeau, 35, of Scottville. He faces up to one year in jail and/or a fine of no more than $2,000.

Benjamin Compeau

In the morning of Dec. 1, 2017, Adams was traveling eastbound on US 10-31 in a full-size 1995 Chevrolet van when he apparently crossed the centerline in the 700 block (in front of Our Savior Lutheran Church) and struck Compeau’s  westbound 2011 Kia Optimahead-on, killing Compeau and causing minor injuries to Compeau’s 1 1/2-year-old son, who was secured in a carseat in the rear passenger side of the vehicle, according to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole. Adams’ van then struck a westbound 2006 Dodge Caravan minivan driven by Jonathan Dipple, 23, of Custer.

Cole said an investigation concluded that it is likely Adams fell asleep. He said alcohol or drugs, distracted driving, and mechanical failure were all ruled out as causes. The crash occurred about 7:40 a.m., before dawn (sunrise was after 8 a.m.).

Adams is scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial conference on Jan. 14 at 9:30 a.m. Bail was set at $3,500 and he was released on personal recognizance.

Following the December 2017 crash Adams was transported by AeroMed ambulance to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. AeroMed landed on the highway just east of the scene, about 1/4 mile from the Scottville city limits.

Adams’ passenger, Chelsea Ward, 22, of Scottville, was transported to Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital by ambulance, as were Compeau’s child and Dipple.

On May 2, 2018, Adams caused another crash, in the City of Ludington, when he failed to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at the intersection of Madison and Dowland streets. The crash resulted in no injuries but caused the other driver’s vehicle to rollover on its side. Adams was issue a citation for failure to yield the right-of-way.

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