Lowell Man Charged in OWI Causing Death
22-year-old Brian Daniel Welch is going to spend the rest of his life living with the guilt and heartbreak that comes with knowing that his poor choices took his girlfriend’s life. But in addition to his grief, he is also looking at the possibility of decades behind bars, as he is now facing a single felony count of operating under the influence of alcohol causing death.
According to police reports, this OWI causing death accident took place during the early morning hours of August 19th. Welch was driving a Ford Taurus, while his girlfriend, 24-year-old Kristina Garza, rode in the passenger seat. Welch was allegedly intoxicated at the time, and is said to have lost control of the vehicle, which veered off the road and hit a tree. No other cars were involved in the accident.
Kent County Sheriff’s Deputies found the vehicle at about 7 am. Inside they discovered Welch, who was critically injured, and Garza, who had already died. The couple had apparently spent the evening watching movies with Garza’s sister in Belding. At the time of the crash, they were on their way back to Lowell.
After Welch recovered in the hospital, his family members say he was utterly heartbroken to discover that his girlfriend had not survived the crash.
Court records show that Welch appeared in the Kent County District Court recently, and waived a probable cause hearing on the OWI causing death charge. As a result, his case has been bound over for trial. His next appearance will be before Judge Paul Sullivan in the Circuit Court.
Under Michigan law, operating under the influence of alcohol causing death (also known as OWI causing death) is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. In addition, there are fines of up to $10,000 that may be required, along with the loss of your driver’s license and possible vehicle forfeiture.