Original Case Details
A 60-year-old dump truck driver from Chesterfield Township is facing charges relating to the death of a 10-year-old girl in a traffic accident. A months-long investigation has indicated that the dump truck driver ran a red light at the intersection of 10 Mile Road and Ryan Road in Warren, MI, causing an accident. A mother and daughter were coming out of a Tim Hortons restaurant after they had stopped in for a breakfast sandwich. It is alleged that the mother’s car ran into the dump truck after the dump truck ran a red light which caused a front-end loader construction vehicle to fall off the attached trailer and onto the car, crushing it. The mother made it out alive with minor injuries, the young daughter unfortunately did not. The 10-year-old was fatally crushed as a result of the accident. The man turned himself into Warren police to face arraignment of his charges.
Criminal Charges Faced by Dump Truck Driver
The man, Timothy John Otto, faces three felony criminal counts for his conduct which allegedly led to the accident which killed the young girl. Otto has been charged by the Macomb County Prosecutor’s office with:
• Second-degree murder: The is a capital felony charge which carries a maximum of up to life in state prison.
• Manslaughter with a motor vehicle: This is a felony charge which carries a maximum of up to 15 years in state prison.
• Reckless driving causing death: This is a misdemeanor charge which carries a maximum of up to 15 years in state prison.
These charges are all related to the same incident as they give different possible theories as to how the crime occurred according to investigators. If prosecutors are able to show the specific elements for any of these charges, then Otto could be facing significant time in prison. Otto was taken into custody on a $75,000 bond which would require Otto to wear a GPS tether if he posts the bond and is released. The judge also ordered that if Otto posts bond, that he is not allowed to operate a commercial vehicle.
What Can Happen Next in this Case?
Otto is scheduled back in court for a preliminary exam conference on September 22, 2020. This is a hearing to determine if an actual preliminary exam hearing will take place or if Otto will waive the hearing to continue his case in Circuit Court. There also exists the possibility that a deal can be made at this stage, but if a deal is made, it will most likely take place in Macomb County Circuit Court. Otto’s case is currently in the 37th District Court in Warren. His preliminary exam conference and any potential preliminary exam hearing would take place in this court. If the Warren District Court judge finds that there is probable cause for the case to continue, either through a hearing or waiver by Otto, then the case would be bound over to Macomb County Circuit Court for further proceedings and potential trial. It is unclear at this point was Otto’s defense strategy or approach will be. The results of the preliminary exam conference will be indicative of how Otto’s defense is approaching the case. Sworn testimony is taken at preliminary exam hearings and can serve as a way for defense attorneys to learn more about the prosecutor’s case and theories behind it. It is also important to note that people facing charges are sometimes punished for holding preliminary exam hearings. Sometimes a defendant is given an offer that is only open if an exam is waived, or if a plea is actually taken at the exam. A plea can be taken at the preliminary exam typically only if the resulting deal involves only misdemeanor charges that the defendant agrees to take. That would result in the case being taken out of circuit court and would allow the case and the defendant to go before the appropriate district court judge who would then determine sentence. As you can see, there are a number of possibilities that still exist for Otto. Only time can tell exactly what will happen in this tragic case.
Any Further Questions?
If you or a loved one has been charged or is being investigated for a vehicular crime, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.