Driver who hit and killed tow truck driver on M-6 has first court appearance

Payton Ferris, 19, appeared on video in a Kent County District Court Monday afternoon. He's accused of hitting and killing Keagan Spencer outside of his tow truck.

KENTWOOD, Mich. — The parking lot of the Kent County 62B District Court was filled with tow trucks Monday afternoon, showing up to support the Spencer family.

"If you say Keagan Spencer, everybody had a story about Keagan Spencer," said Miko Garrison about her son.

Last November, a driver hit and killed Garrison and Matt Spencer's son Keagan.

The 25-year-old tow truck driver pulled over on M-6 and  got out of his vehicle near Caledonia, for reasons still unclear. However, his family said his tow lights were on when the accident happened.  

19-year-old Payton Ferris is accused of hitting him. For the first time, Ferris appeared in court Monday afternoon through a video call. He faces a misdemeanor charge of moving violation causing death.

Keagan's parents, friends and colleagues who watched his arraignment from the gallery, said they wish the charges were harsher.

"Not that we feel that the young man that struck and killed our son should be thrown in jail for years," said Matt Spencer. "But we feel that this needs to be a harsh enough punishment that it sends a message to Payton that he made a mistake, and we pay for those mistakes, but also to send the message to the to the motoring public, that you strike and kill a roadside worker, there's going to be a punishment."

Ferris is facing a possible year in jail, and/or a $2,000 fine.

And while the family is ready to go through the court process, they hope Keagan's death can be a message for everyone.

"We need to slow down first of all," said Matt. "When you see someone on the side of the road, it could be a mail carrier, it could be a school bus, it could be any roadside worker, slow down."

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