CAMBRIDGE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A Michigan man whose house is next to the site of a fatal motorcycle crash has honored the Army veteran killed in that crash by giving an American flag to the victim’s family.

James McCarter said the flag honor was just the right thing to do for fellow veteran Joshua VanBelzen. The 26-year-old VanBelzen was leaving a motorcycle veterans’ gathering in Cambridge Township on Aug. 26 when he failed to make a curve in the road and struck an oncoming pickup truck.

Authorities pronounced him dead at the scene, the Jackson Citizen Patriot reported.

The bend in the road where VanBelzen died is just outside the house where McCarter lives and he had heard the crash impact.

When he learned that VanBelzen was a veteran, McCarter removed the American flag hanging in front of his house and brought it to VanBelzen’s loved ones.

“It just seemed right at the moment,” McCarter said, adding that he wasn’t seeking or wanting attention for his actions. “I just did my part.”

VanBelzen completed a tour in Afghanistan with the Army and was most recently an Army Reservist and drill sergeant working as a federal corrections officer, according to his obituary.

The elderly couple in the pickup truck that VanBelzen hit were “stunned,” McCarter said. VanBelzen’s friends, who left the same veterans’ gathering, held a last-minute prayer service before authorities transported VanBelzen from the scene.

“It was really sad. It was a sad day,” McCarter said.

The curved road that VanBelzen died on has been the site of many fatal and injury crashes, said township Police Chief Jeff Paterson.

“That curve, unfortunately, keeps us busy,” he said. Paterson hopes to address the high number of crashes at a biannual state highway summit in Lansing.

McCarter hopes VanBelzen’s crash inspires changes in the highway design or in the way speeds are monitored and enforced.


Information from: Jackson Citizen Patriot, http://www.mlive.com/jackson

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