Family: Deadly crash heard in victim’s last call

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — As crews worked at the scene of a deadly crash in Kentwood Saturday night, Tara Oskam’s family huddled together in the parking lot of a nearby gas station.

A vehicle that Michigan State Police had tried to pull over led troopers on a chase before it collided with Oskam’s vehicle at the intersection of 52nd Street and Broadmoor Avenue. Oskam, as well as a passenger in the suspect vehicle, died at the scene.

Oskam’s uncle said that she was returning to Calvin College from playing euchre when the crash occurred. She was on the phone when she screamed, after which an explosion was heard.

Family members went to area hospitals, hoping she had been merely injured. Oskam’s uncle approached a trooper on scene to ask which hospital any victims had been taken to, but the trooper said he did not know. They eventually found out she had died.

Oskam, a graduate of South Christian High School, was a 21-year-old junior at Calvin majoring in speech pathology, according to a letter sent by the college to students, faculty, and staff.

“Recognized as a gifted student and campus leader, Tara was loved and admired by many,” Calvin College President Michael Le Roy wrote in the letter.

Rev. Mary Hulst, the chaplain at Calvin College, told 24 Hour News 8 that pastors and counselors will be available Sunday and throughout the week for students. The college’s weekly Sunday night church service was held as usual, but was altered in light of the tragedy. Oskam’s boyfriend, Chad Beisel, was at that service.

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