On Aug. 4, a Washtenaw County dispatcher took a call from a man who told him, "I just hit somebody on Marshall Road." Per protocol, the dispatcher directed the man to return to the scene of the accident. However, earlier this month the dispatcher testified in court that he wouldn't have instructed the caller to return to the crash location if he had any indication that he was intoxicated. The 43-year-old driver now faces DUI-related charges, including operating while intoxicated causing death and leaving the scene of an accident. If convicted, he could face a significant prison sentence.
The accident occurred at nearly midnight, when the driver, who stated that he was reaching for his cell phone, veered off of Marshall Road and hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian was tossed into a ditch, and the driver continued to his home. The exact details of what then occurred are somewhat unclear, but the driver called 911 and returned to the site of the accident per the dispatcher's instructions. The deceased victim's body had been found by a witness, and police and medical personnel were present.
The District Court judge presiding over the hearing is expected to rule on whether or not the individual will stand trial for the offenses charged. Police reports indicate that the suspect was cooperative and that a field sobriety test was not performed. Tests indicated a blood alcohol content of 0.12 percent. The legal limit in Michigan is 0.08 percent.
Even if it didn't result in such a tragic outcome, anyone charged with driving under the influence in Washtenaw County should consult with a criminal attorney devoted to helping those accused of DUI, DWI or OUI. Michigan has intricate and ever-changing drunk driving laws. An experienced lawyer may help chart a course designed to protect all of the client's legal rights while seeking an equitable resolution to the proceedings.
Source: Annarbor.com, "Driver in death of Gary Lillie said he was reaching for cell phone just before crash," Kyle Feldscher, Sept. 20, 2011