Clarkston judge rules elderly driver to be tried in trooper dragging
Clarkston — A Waterford Township man was bound over Wednesday to stand trial in the August dragging death of a Michigan State trooper.
Charles R. Warren Jr., 69, is charged with reckless driving resulting in death and leaving the scene of an accident in the death of Trooper Chad Wolf.
After hearing testimony from several witnesses, Clarkston 52-2nd District Judge Kelley Kostin ruled Wednesday there was probable cause Warren should face the charges, felonies which each carry up to 15 years in prison. The hearing was a continuation of Warren’s preliminary exam, which started in January.
Kostin ordered an electronic tether be removed from Warren and he was released on $10,000 bond pending an arraignment date to be determined before Oakland Circuit Judge Denise Langford Morris.
“The decision to bind him over on these charges are one of the most disappointing I have ever witnessed in 23 years of practicing law,” said Neil Rockind, Warren’s attorney. “I’m deeply disappointed. There is no evidence that indicates he even knew he was in a collision with the trooper
“This is a tragic death, but this makes it even more tragic. Reckless driving is a willful intentional act. There is nothing to show that occurred either. This was an accident and no one can say for certain how it occurred.”
Police arrived at an I-75 rest area soon after witnesses made emergency 911 calls on Aug. 28 to report seeing a man driving a trailer with what seemed to be a body wedged beneath it. Warren was taken into custody at the rest area when he was trying to change a rear tire on the trailer. Investigators said Wolf, 36, was apparently dragged four miles.
Warren told Michigan State Police Lt. Tawana Powell he was headed up north to help a friend close on some property and was driving off of Dixie Highway in Springfield Township onto northbound Interstate 75 when he said he “hit a very large bump.”
“He said it was loud and seemed large,” Powell testified last month. “His trailer started pulling to the left and he saw sparks coming off the left side. He thought it might be potholes and it was causing a drag on the trailer. He believed he had a flat and was riding on the rim and when he saw the rest area, he pulled over.”
Rockind said Warren never knew he struck Wolf, who was married and father of four children, and when told of the death, was still in disbelief.