St. Ignace Teen Dies in Drunk Driving Accident
Darrell Lovegrove, an Upper Peninsula resident, is facing some very serious charges for the death of a St. Ignace teen in a drunk driving crash in Mackinac County. The accident, which took place in October of 2015, resulted in the death of Mitchell Snyder, the football star of LaSalle High School, who had helped his team win the homecoming game that night.
At Lovegrove’s recent preliminary hearing, several people provided witness testimony, one of which was Mark Oja, who had been first on the scene. He had been traveling to work when he encountered a great deal of debris on the road. He soon discovered the accident and called 911. While he was on the phone with the 911 operator, Oja says, a man covered in blood came up to him and asked him not to report the accident.
Mackinac County Deputy Chase Arnold, who was the first officer on the scene, says that he found Lovegrove wandering around in the road. His BAC readings at the time were .207, which means that he was well above the state’s limit for super drunk driving. When asked if he had been drinking, Lovegrove told the officer that he had consumed five beers that night.
According to Mackinac County prosecutor Stuart Spencer, 17-year-old Snyder died as a result of multiple blunt force trauma to the head. The trauma was caused as a result of the impact between Lovegrove’s vehicle and his own.
Another witness for the prosecution was crash reconstruction expert Sergeant John Bruno, who says that Lovegrove was speeding and swerving at the time of the crash. Information gleaned from Lovegrove’s vehicle revealed that he was traveling about 15 miles over the speed limit right before impact.
Lovegrove is charged with vehicular manslaughter, second degree murder and operating while intoxicated causing death. At the time of the accident, records show that he had a valid driver’s license, but also had a criminal record that included two former drunk driving convictions.
Under Michigan law, both vehicular manslaughter and operating while intoxicated causing death are felonies, and are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Second degree murder, also a felony, is punishable by any number of years up to life in prison.