ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Helen Grudzinskas didn’t hear the crash that happened near her home on Friday, April 30. She was inside doing the dishes when she looked up to see papers flying around outside in the wind.
She remembered it was a sunny, yet windy day.
“I thought, 'I don’t have anything in the garage. The garage door's not even open.' But, I thought about my mailbox,” Grudzinskas said during an interview with FOX 17 on Thursday afternoon. “I thought I couldn’t imagine how they would’ve gotten out. I went out and went and caught some papers flying around.”
That’s when she turned around and saw her mailbox had been knocked over. She also saw a vehicle off to the distance that a neighbor told her had rolled over.
“When I walked up there to him, he was out of the car,” Grudzinskas recalled. “He was talking and he said something: ‘I will fix your mailbox.’ He said, ‘Probably not today but I will fix it.’ And that’s all I ever got from him.”
According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, that evening there was a single-car accident on McCabe Avenue near 4-Mile Road. A vehicle hit Grudzinskas's mailbox and then rolled over several times. The driver of the car was State Rep. Bryan Posthumus.
“I made a mistake. I messed up. I acknowledge that. I acknowledge I have a drinking problem. I accept full and complete responsibility for my actions,” Posthumus said during a Zoom interview on Thursday afternoon. “I know that I not only let myself down, I let my family down. I let my friends down, and I let the people of Michigan down.”
Deputies arrested Posthumus on the suspicion of operating while intoxicated. His blood-alcohol level was .13, which is above the state’s legal limit of .08.
When FOX 17 filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the sheriff's office for the accident report, the seven-page document was returned heavily redacted. However, it states that Posthumus told deputies that he did not recall rolling over.
However, Posthumus said he does.
“When I got in the accident, I was veering to the right, overcorrected, and that’s when I went in the ditch and the car rolled,” he said. “I fully recollect the accident, just I didn’t know that I rolled.”
FOX 17 also researched Posthumus's driving record from the secretary of state’s office. It includes speeding tickets, an expired license plate, failure-to-signal tickets and drunk-driving conviction in 2013. His license was suspended as a result.
“I now finally see that I have a drinking problem and I’ve acknowledged that,” Posthumus said. “Since my accident on Friday I’ve begun going to Alcoholics Anonymous. I go every other day. I sought out a sponsor. So, I now have a sponsor to help me with my sobriety.”
He’s also seeking outpatient rehabilitation.
Last weekend he released this statement on his Facebook page:
“I am deeply disappointed in myself for putting other people in jeopardy by driving after drinking alcohol. There is no excuse for what happened, and I take full and complete responsibility for my actions. To my family, friends, colleagues, and constituents who I serve, I sincerely apologize and ask forgiveness. It is clear to me that I have a drinking problem, and I need help. I am going to immediately begin attending alcoholics anonymous meetings and make AA an important part of my life. I am grateful that no one else was injured because of my mistake. I will work very hard to regain the trust, respect, and support of my loved ones, my fellow state representatives, and the wonderful citizens in my district. I never again want to embarrass myself or others through my actions.”
Since then people have commented that he should resign. However, Posthumus said that’s not something he’s considering.
“This is watershed moment for me. It’s an eye-opening experience for me,” Posthumus said. “I’m going to take the steps that I need to take in order to live a sober life, and I’m more committed than ever to earning back the trust of those that I represent.”