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Driver accused in trooper’s death has bond increased

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Pontiac — A Waterford Township man facing charges in a state trooper’s 2015 death must pay a higher bond and wear a GPS tether following a traffic stop last month, an Oakland Circuit judge ordered Wednesday.

Charles R. Warren Jr.

The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office had requested bond be revoked for Charles Warren Jr. after a Sept. 21 incident in northern Michigan in which he was found driving on a suspended license and committing driving violations. One of Warren’s bond conditions was he not drive a motor vehicle.

Warren, 69, is charged with reckless driving causing death and leaving the scene of an accident causing death in the Aug. 28, 2015, incident in which state Trooper Chad Wolf’s motorcycle collided with an unlit trailer being pulled by Warren. Wolf, 38, of Fenton died from injuries suffered when he was dragged under the trailer for four miles. Warren said he pulled into a freeway rest area because of what he thought was a trailer breakdown and maintained he never realized there had been an accident and thought he had hit a “helluva bump” in the road.

He had been free on $100,000/10 percent bond but Judge Denise Langford Morris ordered that increased Wednesday to 25 percent — a hike of $15,000 — and reinstated a tether for Warren. He has until 1 p.m. Thursday to meet the higher bond.

“There is a lot at stake here,” Morris said. “It is in his best interest to not be driving. ... This is an unusual case with serious allegations.”

If Warren is ultimately convicted of the death-related charges, both felonies, he could be sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney David Hutson told Morris that Warren was pulled over in Central Lake, near Traverse City, after the police chief saw him allegedly fail to signal turns on five different occasions and also run a stop sign. Warren admitted to the officer he knew he was driving on a suspended license.

“It shows a pattern of his disregard for the rules of the road,” Hutson told Morris. “When it’s not convenient for him, he does what he wants.”

Defense attorney Neil Rockind argued the Sept. 21 traffic violations are still to be decided in court and regardless of outcome, Warren had not put anyone in danger.

“If a police officer followed him and witnessed all these things before pulling him over they should take his badge away,” Rockind said. “Even if true, its hardly the crime of the century.”

Rockind speculated Warren had become “exhausted” by having his wife and others drive him around and when an attorney asked his help in a house closing in northern Michigan, he “made the bad decision to drive.”

“Does it excuse violations? No,” Rockind said. “Does it warrant revoking bond? No.”

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319