MSP: Speed not factor in fatal police crash

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police has released its preliminary findings on the crash that killed a Norton Shores police officer.

According to MSP, Officer Jonathan Ginka, 34, was not responding to a call Wednesday morning when his cruiser crashed into a tree on Henry Street in Norton Shores. The cruiser was traveling 46 mph at the time of the crash. State police have determined speed was not a factor.

Ginka was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.

A MSP crash reconstructionist found the cruiser went off road for roughly two seconds and approximately 145 feet. The data recorder shows Ginka took his foot off the accelerator then put it on the brake just before crashing into the tree.

Norton Shores police crash
The wreckage of Officer Jon Ginka’s cruiser is loaded onto a flatbed. (May 10, 2017)
Even though Ginka applied the brakes, MSP says it wasn’t able to stop the cruiser from colliding with the tree.

MSP notes that images used by the media show the cruiser after firefighters take off the roof and door so crews could free Ginka from the wreckage.

Autopsy results are expected to be released by the end of May, state police said.

Ginka was a 10-year veteran of the Norton Shores Police Department. He was also a former North Muskegon firefighter and graduate of Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s police academy.

Officer Jonathan Ginka
An undated courtesy photo of Officer Jonathan Ginka. (Norton Shores Police Department)
He leaves behind a wife and two children, as well as his parents and many friends and family. Longtime officials say Ginka is the first on-duty officer the Norton Shores Police Department has lost.

Visitation for Ginka will be held Monday, May 15 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, at The Lee Chapel, which is located at 6291 S. Harvey Street in Norton Shores. Memorial donations can be made in his name to the Wounded Warriors Project or the Norton Shores Crime Prevention Fund in lieu of flowers.

Ginka’s funeral will be held Tuesday, May 16 at 11 a.m. at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, which is located at 1110 Dykstra Rd. in Laketon Township. His burial will follow at the Laketon Township Cemetery.

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First of all, my thoughts and condolences go to his family,friends,and brothers in Blue.

MSP stated that speed was not a factor in this accident.

1.)The speed limit on this road is 35MPH and the MSP state this Officer's his speed at impact was 46MPH.

So, first of all he WAS speeding. Also, MSP determined he braked before impact. So he could have easily lowered his speed by 15-20mph or more.

2.) MSP also stated the picture posted is not of the actual damage from the accident. The roof and doors were removed to extricate this officer. But, by looking at the damage to the under body solely that doesn't seem to correlate with that statement.

3.) The cruiser would have to be traveling 50MPH to go 145 feet which is calculated at 73.33fps . 

MSP is definitely fudging these stated findings. Generally, we would only hear it's under investigation and results would take weeks. Very odd they post these statements so soon. They want the public to believe their story to avoid speculation, or the truth.

The public will never know the truth of this accident. They will protect their own as usual.

I would like to see body cam or dash cam video to see what the officer was doing and see the vehicle data computer readings off the ECM.

Condolences also to family and friends. I looked at the pictures from the link provided, and although jaws were used to release the officer, looked much more damaged than I would have thought. Also, the tree doesn't look that damaged for being hit so hard, and the car is perpendicular to the tree, odd, should have veered off instead imho. They there's the claim of no speeding when this happened. If the car was going 46 yet, per the report, after the brake was applied when the collision happened, he must have been going 55-65 or so, not the 35 mph speed limit. Would also like to know what weather conditions were then, icy? Rainy? Dry? And also like to see video cam of accident, but I doubt those will ever be released to the public.

I feel for his family. He probably swerved to miss a deer. Even tho he's trained not to swerve it's just a normal reaction and when done quickly it's hard to compensate for the over reaction.

The MSP stated the officer was not on a call. The speed limit was 35. Had he been going the speed limit he could have avoided any animal to cross his path. He was most definitely hauling ass to cause that much damage to the under body. Why, we don't know yet. But, MSP sure is putting a squash on the facts.

In the pic above, you see the closest speed limit sign when you're heading south going towards the intersection of Henry and Ross, if you're heading north this is the closest: 

If his vehicle was going 46 mph at the time of impact 145 ft. away from the road, after whatever attempt of braking, speed was an issue.  If he wasn't in some sort of emergency call, he effectively was engaged in dangerous horseplay when he destroyed an expensive piece of equipment that was on loan from the taxpayers.  It's unfortunate that the MSP cannot even admit that there was a speeding problem at work, because it calls into question whatever findings they end up with, and I hope they release the crash data to journalists, because you know they won't voluntarily do so. 

It's a terrible legacy to leave behind when his career seems to be spotless up until then.  Condolences to those who knew and loved him.

Even if he had a spontaneous health issue and immediately decided to head for help, or saw something and took off after it, or dropped something and jammed his foot on the accelerator and crashed. It makes no sense to state his speed in this crash was not a factor. It was and it possibly killed him. We'll see what the autopsy says. Maybe he had a heart attack, got scared tried to rush for help and crashed. Still, speed was a factor. It doesn't place blame for his speed, it just makes it a factor. Sure, any loss of life is tragic. But, why this happened needs to be investigated and should be transparent.

Looking to the left of the dry pavement, the tire tracks go straight into the tree. No visible grass disturbance from braking or steering away from it. Big trees do no move. Hitting a solid structure at 35  will do a lot of damage especially a round  tree or poll.  Sorry for the families loss but I would think it might have been done on purpose. Inner family , financial or  troubles at his work. Wouldn't be the first time a cop killed himself.

No doubt. The public deserves the facts and evidence. If this was the case the Public should not be held accountable. Let the Blues Brothers foot the bill and pay for his families expenses.

So very sad that this young Officer died as a result of this crash.  I'm sure his wife and children and in terrible shock as would be the rest of his family and friends.  At this time it really doesn't matter if he was speeding or was ill....he is gone.  He didn't harm anyone else according to this report can be replaced...people can't. 

Down the road the other details can be reviewed.  I hope those involved with the investigation have integrity and transparency with providing the information that is part of the public record when that time comes. 

Sure it matters. It matters in many important ways. First of all the truth!

Was he at fault?  Was this an accident?  Was it his own hands in this crash?  

There are questions which need the truth for a reason.

The Truth leads to discussion and discussion leads to healing!  

 Yes, it matters. What else could be involved in this case beyond him and his death?

Are their victims? Would they matter?

The investigation will continue even as they lay this man to rest, as it should.

Truth is not what makes an event like this tragic. Truth is what closes the wounds.

Key words in my previous statement John notdead Streeter were "at this time." 

There may very well have been many factors that lead to Ginka's death and because the media chose to publish "speed was not a factor" does not really mean it was not a factor.

I appreciate your determination to hold people accountable and transparency and I am in full support of those ideas and operationalizing our rights to examine the data and get the reports etc.

I care and am interested.

If this were any other person I would still want to know what happened. MSP is the ones who gave the media the immediate speed statement. I agree with Stump's No braking ...  If you look at the I-94/ I69 freeway shooter last year, the MSP did not tell anyone for over six months about the MULTIPLE shootings at drivers on those freeways. The Public's lives were at risk for six months before the word got out on social media and then MSP finally made a comment. Many people could have died. This is the second officer traffic fatality in a week, so YES, I want answers!  I guess if the MSP didn't lie from the beginning I would say, Ohh, this is what happened...Pray for the family at this time and see what we as a community can do to prevent this from occurring again.


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