Fatal crash case sent to grand jury


By Greg Sowinski - [email protected]



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LIMA — The case against a college student who crashed a car after drinking, killing his friend, was sent to the grand jury Wednesday.

Zackery Brown, 21, of Waterford, Michigan, is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony that carries up to eight years in prison. The grand jury will review the case to determine if the same charge should be filed.

Details of the Nov. 10 crash that killed 18-year-old Brendon Wale of St. Louis, Michigan, were released during a preliminary hearing Wednesday at Lima Municipal Court.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Michael Kinsinger testified as the only witness for the prosecution, saying he learned the following during his investigation:

Kinsinger was on patrol at 5 a.m. when he received a call about a possible crash involving a pickup truck without lights on state Route 115 near the Allen and Putnam county lines. He drove to the scene and found Brown walking on state Route 115 near State Road.

“He was bloody on his face. He was stumbling around,” Kinsinger said.

Brown smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot, glassy eyes.

Brown asked the trooper to help his passenger and led Kinsinger to the crash scene that could not be seen from the road.

“There was heavy damage to the vehicle,” the trooper said describing the BMW Brown drove.

In the passenger seat, still held in by his seat belt, was Wale’s lifeless body. Although there were no signs of life, Wale was take to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Brown told the trooper another vehicle was driving toward him on state Route 115 in his lane. He said he was driving northbound, tried flashing his lights but the vehicle did not move back to its lane. Brown said he drove off the right side of the road.

There was no evidence found to prove another vehicle was involved in the crash.

Brown told the trooper he drank two beers earlier in the night. He said he and Wale were roommates, and he was driving to a location north of Lima to show Wale where he previously lived.

A nurse took a blood sample from Brown at the hospital to determine his blood alcohol level. The results of the test are pending.

Magistrate Richard Warren continued Brown’s $100,000 bond and allowed him to return home to Michigan to live with his parents while his case plays out. Brown, who was a student at the University of Northwestern Ohio, must return to Lima for all court hearings.

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By Greg Sowinski

[email protected]

Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.

Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.

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