Most residents in and around Grand Rapids are aware of the basic hazards of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) – a large fine, restrictions on driving privileges, and perhaps a period of incarceration. What most people fail to comprehend is how quickly an OWI offense can quickly become something far more serious, as in a recent case in Schoolcraft Township in which the suspected drunk driver is facing two murder charges.
The incident occurred on May 7. The defendant was traveling at a high rate of speed in his SUV on US Hwy. 131 when he collided with a car being driven by an elderly man whose wife was a passenger in the vehicle. The elderly couple were pronounced dead at the scene. The defendant was given a field sobriety test, and his blood alcohol count was measured at .167%, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08%.
The driver of the SUV was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and causing two deaths, and two counts of driving without a valid license and causing death. At the defendant’s preliminary arraignment, prosecutors said that the defendant was travelling at 115 mph in a 55 mph zone. Prosecutors also accused the defendant of traveling at 85 mph when he struck the deceased couple’s vehicle.
The defendant in this case is facing very serious criminal charges. If convicted, he could face a permanent loss of driving privileges, a large fine, and a significant period of incarceration. Anyone facing similar charges should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for an evaluation of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of conviction and the possibility of negotiating an acceptable plea agreement.