Bail Set for Woman Who Crashed Into Boat Club Killing 2 Kids

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Monroe County Sheriff's Office
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A Michigan woman is facing several charges after allegedly drunk driving into a building over the weekend—killing two young children and injuring 13 others.

Marshella Chidester, 66, was charged with eight crimes—including second-degree murder and operating under the influence of alcohol causing death—after she allegedly plowed her SUV into the Swan Boat Club on Saturday afternoon.

Authorities say that Chidester crashed into a children’s birthday party and killed 4-year-old Zayna Phillips and his 8-year-old sister, Alanah. Of the 13 others injured in the crash, nine were hospitalized and five remain in critical condition.

“She took my grandbabies from us,” Kathy Phillips, the children’s grandmother, said at the Tuesday arraignment, according to the Detriot Free Press. “She made that choice to go in that car, and she chose to drink and drive.”

Monroe District Court Judge Christian Horkey set Chidester’s bond on Tuesday at $1.5 million, noting that friends and family revealed to investigators she has a “very severe substance abuse issue.” If convicted, Chidester faces life in prison.

At the Tuesday hearing, Chidester’s lawyer argued that his client has a history of epileptic leg seizures and tragically lost control of her car before the crash. He explained that Chidester only had one glass of wine four hours before the accident and that she did not have a previous criminal history.

“This is not a monster,” attorney Bill Colovos said in court, adding that his client drives like a “little old lady.” “It’s horrible what happened, absolutely horrible. I have two children. It's absolutely horrible. But some things we don’t have control over.”

Prosecutors, however, refuted the defense’s argument and revealed that Chidester’s “blood alcohol level was significantly over the legal limit.” Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffery A. Yorkey also noted that there was no indication that Chidester suffered from a seizure during the incident.

“She indicated herself that she had some seizure issues and she was on some medication, and that she wasn't supposed to be drinking, but admitted that she had been drinking that day,” Yorkey added.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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