Michigan police have reported that a 21-year-old Kalamazoo man was taken into custody on April 11 on suspicion of drunk driving after he lost control of his vehicle and drove into a house. In addition to driving under the influence, the man is facing charges of leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended license. The accident took place on West Michigan Avenue in Kalamazoo.
The house was occupied by students attending the nearby campus of Western Michigan University who told public safety officers that they were awoken by a loud noise at approximately 4:00 a.m. They later told reporters that the force of the impact was sufficient to rock the structure and cause items in the house to fall. They said that the driver appeared to be unsteady as he exited the vehicle, and he allegedly asked them not to contact the authorities. They added that the man appeared to be unaware that he had suffered injuries in the accident. Allegedly, the man collected some items from the car before fleeing the scene.
The search for the driver then began in earnest, and public safety officers set up a perimeter encompassing several blocks of West Michigan Avenue. Police dogs were then brought in to assist with the search, but these efforts proved unsuccessful. Authorities caught up with the man later at a residence on Westbrook Street. The accident caused West Michigan Avenue to be closed for over an hour as fallen power lines were tended to by utility workers. The house will require a safety inspection before the students are allowed to return to assess the damage that the Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief described as considerable.
Individuals facing drunk driving charges often have little prior experience dealing with law enforcement, and the process can seem intimidating. A local DUI defense attorney with experience in this area might understand these concerns, and they may explain how OWI charges can sometimes be reduced by bringing mitigating factors to the attention of the prosecutor involved. They could also explain that evidence relied upon to support a drunk driving charge, such as the results of toxicology tests, can sometimes be unreliable.