GR mother mourned in deadly crash, suspect charged

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man authorities allege was driving drunk when he crashed into two houses, killing a pedestrian, now faces more than a decade in prison.

Javan Thomas Beard was charged Tuesday with one count of operating while intoxicated causing death and one count of operating without a license in connection to the deadly crash Monday evening.

The scene where a car crashed into a home in Grand Rapids. (Dec. 16, 2019)

It happened around 5:30 p.m. on Kalamazoo Avenue and Temple Street near Hall Street on the city’s southeast side.

The Grand Rapids Police Department said the car was driving at a high rate of speed when it hit the victim and two houses.

Family identified the victim as Lashanda Howard, 47.

An undated courtesy photo of Lashanda Howard.
An undated courtesy photo of Lashanda Howard.

“It’s unreal,” her best friend, Marjory Banks, told News 8 Tuesday. “I still haven’t swallowed it yet.”

Banks said she was walking with Howard when the car came barreling off the road. Howard lived next to the crash site.

“I’m very upset to have her literally snatched from my hand. I grabbed her and tried to move her out the way,” Banks recalled, emotionally. “He murdered her. He was careless.”

News 8 found a history of domestic violence and drug charges for Beard. He faces 15 years in prison for Monday’s deadly crash.

Beard’s bond was set at $25,000 cash surety. Conditions of any release include a monitoring device to ensure he doesn’t drink, smoke marijuana or use any other drugs.