Sheriff: Car going over 70 mph in Stony Creek crash

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Mount Clemens — No felony charges will be filed in a high-speed crash that killed three teens at Stony Creek Metropark in May, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said Wednesday.

"We sent this over to (Macomb County Prosecutor) Eric Smith to see if there were any crimes committed," he said. "He looked at it and said there was no crime that could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

Wickersham made the remarks during a news conference Wednesday afternoon at his office in Mount Clemens to provide an update on the case.

This is a Macomb County Sheriff's Office image of the accident scene.

He also said there's evidence all five teenagers who were in the 2008 Jaguar S-type involved in the single-vehicle crash had been drinking alcohol.

The driver, Jonathan Manolios, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.08, which qualifies for drunken driving in Michigan. Manolios, Emanuel "Manny" Malaj and Michael Wells, all 17-years-old and from Sterling Heights, were killed in the crash. Malaj had a blood-alcohol level of 0.02 and Wells' was 0.07. Their blood-alcohol levels were tested by hospital personnel and the Macomb County Medical Examiner's Office.

Wickersham said investigators determined the Jaguar probably was traveling between 72 mph and 82 mph before it hit a guardrail, flipped five times and tumbled into Stony Creek.

Four of the teens were ejected from the vehicle. Gregory Bobchick, 17, of Shelby Township was the only passenger wearing a seat belt and he remained in the car. Bobchick had a blood-alcohol level of 0.02 and a small amount of marijuana in his system, Wickersham said.

He also said the car was registered to Bobchick's mother's cousin, but the teen frequently used it. Police aren't naming the owner since he hasn't been charged with a crime. All Wickersham would say about the owner is that he's a St. Clair Shores resident.

The two teens who survived the crash — Bobchick and Joseph Narra, also 17, and of Shelby Township — will face a misdemeanor charge for underage drinking, but no charges directly related to the crash will be pursued, the sheriff said. Narra's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.03.

Police said the crash happened May 8th at about 6:14 p.m. The five teens had arranged to meet up after school, according to officials. Bobchick picked up Manolios at his house and then they picked up Malaj, Wickersham said.

They stopped at a liquor store in Shelby Township and bought a case of bottled Corona beer.

Wickersham said Malaj used a fake Ohio driver's license with his picture on it to buy the beer.

The store is also where the trio picked up Narra. The four then traveled to Wells' home to get him. The group stopped to buy pet food and made their way to Bobchick's home.

At 5:20 p.m., two girls, who are ages 16 and 17 and schoolmates of the boys, arrived at Bobchick's residence.

Twenty minutes later, the girls and Narra headed to Stony Creek. The five other teens follow with Manolios driving the Jaguar.

"Bobchick told us Manolios really pressured him to let him drive," Wickersham said. "We also have text messages from Manolios that say how bad he wanted to drive a Jaguar."

By 5:50 p.m., the seven arrive at Baypointe Beach at the park.

Wickersham said the girls decided to leave because the weather was bad and Narra got out of their car and into the Jaguar, with Manolios still behind the wheel.

The sheriff said the boys decided to head to Ridgewood Beach, also in the park. However, he said, they got lost, pulled into Eastwood Beach, but were unable to get their bearings.

At this point, Wickersham said, Manolios was speeding and Bobchick was hasseling him about going the wrong way again.

Their car nearly strikes an oncoming vehicle, forcing the other driver off onto the shoulder. The driver told police he estimates the Jaguar was going more than 70 mph.

Shortly after, the teens crashed, police said.

Investigators found the beer in the vehicle and an empty bottle of Captain Morgan rum near where the car landed in the creek. The next day, they found two backpacks believed to belong to occupants in the Jaguar. One of the bags had a bottle of Crown Royal whiskey in it, Wickersham said.

He said detectives had a difficult time piecing the events of the crash together because there weren't any witnesses who saw it happen and none of the teens had identification on them. He also said Bobchick initially cooperated with investigators, but wouldn't give them additional information after they asked to see his cellphone.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

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