On Easter Sunday, 24-year-old Joshua Owens was struck by two vehicles as he was crossing Ottawa Beach Road to use an ATM machine. Witnesses said that the two vehicles briefly stopped, and then fled the scene. Now, two people have been arrested in the incident which took place in front of the Itty Bitty Bar.
Maly Phongsavanh, 22, and Jeremie Collins, 26, were arrested on felony murder counts later in the day on Easter, after a tip from citizens regarding the whereabouts of the two suspects’ cars was received by police. The two were said to be speeding when the accident occurred. Both suspects were charged with leaving the scene of a serious injury/death accident. Collins’ bond was set at $5,000; he has 7 prior convictions including a 2009 OWI, according to news reports at Fox 17. Phongsavanh’s bond was set at $3,000.
The victim had been celebrating his wife’s birthday at the Itty Bitty Bar in Park Township when he crossed to go to the ATM to get money for a cab. On Monday evening, Maly Phongsavanh bonded out of the Ottawa County Jail, offering an apology to the victim’s family. Phongsavanh told Fox 17, “I just want to say I’m really sorry to Owens’ family. I would love to say I’m sorry in person if I could. It was an accident and I wish I could have seen him around that curve.” Phongsavanh was driving a BMW when the fatal hit-and-run occurred; there was a passenger in the vehicle with her, 25-year-old Debbie Vongphachanh, who was also taken into custody.
Family members of the victim told local media that the vehicles appeared to be racing at the time of the accident, although police did not confirm this information. As of Monday, there had been no indication that any charges related to alcohol would be brought into the case.
Both Collins and Phongsavanh are expected back in court at 9 a.m. April 3 for a preliminary exam. If convicted, each could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Michigan criminal defense lawyers understand how devastating the situation is for the victim’s family, losing a husband and father at such a young age. However, it is also very sad that the two accused of committing the fatal hit-and-run are young, and their lives will be forever affected.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense that resulted in the loss of life, whether a hit-and-run accident, involuntary manslaughter, or even murder, do not wait before taking action on your own behalf. Contact a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney immediately who will begin work on your case so that positive results can be reached.