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Driver Charged in Death of Snowmobiler

February 5, 2004

HASTINGS, Mich. (AP) _ A man driving a pickup truck with a snowplow allegedly struck and killed a 17-year-old snowmobiler in a hit-and-run crash, dragging the body for a mile, authorities said.

Cory Jo Schut, 24, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of driving with a suspended license, causing death, and failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death. He was freed on $20,000 bail.

Killed in the Jan. 27 crash was Jamie Joy Reurink, a high school student in Wayland, about 25 miles south of Grand Rapids.

``He is very, very upset. He’s a very lost man,″ said Schut friend Lindsey Allene, who returned a telephone message left at Schut’s home. ``We’re very sympathetic for the family, and he apologizes up and down.″

Schut told state police that he knew he had hit somebody, said Trooper Bryan Fuller.

``He was scared,″ Fuller told The Grand Rapids Press. ``He knew he was″ driving without a valid license.

Schut told police he did not know the victim was still on his plow as he drove away but then noticed snow flying up from the front of his truck, Fuller said. He said when he stopped to check if the plow was damaged, he discovered Reurink.

He did not check to see whether she was alive before raising the plow and leaving her in the road, Fuller said. An autopsy showed she died from the initial impact.

Schut went to his nearby home, but later returned to the scene to talk to authorities, police said.

Reurink’s 14-year-old brother was on another snowmobile and witnessed the crash, he told his parents. He and his sister were among a group of snowmobilers on a designated snowmobile trail.

Each count against Schut carries a maximum possible punishment of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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