South Haven man, 18, killed in single-car crash

The vehicle 18-year-old River Fitch was driving in Sunday afternoon is shown after the car left the roadway on 14th Avenue in South Haven Township and hit a tree. 

SOUTH HAVEN — South Haven Police are continuing to investigate a car accident that claimed the life of a young South Haven area man.

The accident was reported at 3:30 p.m., Sunday at the intersection of 14th Avenue and 77th Street in South Haven Township.

Police on Monday afternoon had not released the name of the accident victim. However, a youth group that the victim and his family have been involved with at Hope Reformed Church, did identify him as 18-year-old River Fitch.

“We are saddened to report that River Fitch, the oldest son of Craig and Maiya Fitch, was involved in a car accident and died as a result of his injuries,” Ben Forsman, Hope’s youth ministries director, posted on the youth ministry Facebook site. “Memorial arrangements are pending and will be announced once they become available. Please be in prayer for the Fitch family, relatives and friends that they may find strength in God’s presence during this time of sorrow.”

Forsman described the South Haven High School graduate as “very much a goofy kind of kid, but fun and very loving and caring of others.”

Although Fitch graduated from high school a year ago, counselors were still on hand Monday for students to talk to, according to District Superintendent Kevin Schooley.

Two other teens from the South Haven area were inside the vehicle at the time of the crash according to Sgt. Patrick Carlotto. However, police were not releasing any names.

“There were two passengers and a driver,” Carlotto said. The driver of the vehicle was traveling west on 14th Avenue and turning onto 77th Street when the vehicle left the roadway and side-swiped a tree.

First responders from South Haven Area Emergency Services took the front-seat passenger (Fitch) by ambulance to a hospital in Kalamazoo. He later died that evening from injuries sustained in the crash. Another person in the vehicle suffered minor injuries.

Carlotto said police investigating the crash had not yet determined why the vehicle left the roadway.

“We’re still determining that,” he said. “The officers who are investigating are crunching the math trying to determine speed as well as other things they’re looking into.”