GR man charged with homicide in vehicular death of wife

September 17, 2023

Mark Casterman

GR man charged with homicide in vehicular death of wife

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

LUDINGTON — A 58-year-old Grand Rapids man has been charged with four counts in the death of his wife resulting from an incident on North US 31 Friday morning. Mark Lazon Casterman has been charged with the following felonies:

  • Homicide – open murder, punishable by up to life imprisonment
  • Operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death, punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and/or $2,500 to $10,000 fine
  • Operating a vehicle while license suspended, revoked, or denied – causing death, punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and/or $2,500 to $10,000 fine
  • Operating a vehicle while intoxicated, third offense, punishable by one to five years imprisonment and/or a $500 to $5,000 fine. 

At 11:15 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, emergency crews were dispatched to US 31 near Freeman Road for a report of a woman being struck by a vehicle, a bystander was reportedly performing CPR life saving efforts on the woman alongside the highway. 

According to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, the woman, Melissa Sue Casterman, spouse of Mark Casterman, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

“Detectives and crash investigators have been working throughout the weekend to put the events of Friday back together,” Sheriff Cole said. “This has included collecting evidence from the roadway, vehicle, and the victim.  Along with the measuring tire marks and reviewing security cameras in the area of where this tragedy took place.”

Cole said Melissa Casterman had been driving a 2013 Lincoln MKX southbound on US 31 south of Freeman Road when an argument between she and her passenger, Mark Casterman, took place. 

“Ms. Casterman pulled to the southbound shoulder of the road, exited the car, crossed the highway, and started walking southbound along the northbound shoulder,” Cole said. “The suspect got behind the wheel and drove twice past the victim before doing a final ‘U’ turn in front of Freeman Creek Equipment (just south of Freeman Road).  The suspect accelerated southbound on US 31, crossed the centerline, traveled down the northbound shoulder, and struck the victim.  The victim was killed instantly. 

“Although I am heartbroken that such an event could play out in our community and done so publicly for innocent citizens to witness, I am grateful to our investigators,” the sheriff said. “They worked tirelessly throughout the weekend putting this case together and did so with the commitment to finding the truth and seeking justice for the victim.”

Emergency crews assisting at the scene included Mason County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Crash Reconstruction Team and Detective Bureau, Free Soil/Meade Fire Department, Grant Fire Department, Fountain Area Fire Department, and Life EMS ambulance.

“Our area’s first responders put their Friday aside in an effort to save a life and spent hours re-routing traffic, while our deputies worked the scene.  I am equally thankful for all they did as well to keep my folks safe at the scene.”

Bond was set by the Mason County magistrate for Mark Casterman at $1 million. A preliminary examination is scheduled for 79th District Court at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 4, 2023. He remains lodged in the Mason County Jail. 

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