44-year-old Jeremy Gard, a resident of Stanwood, has been sentenced to spend a year in jail for causing an accident that left a motorcyclist injured, and then fleeing the scene. Because he was intoxicated at the time of the crash, he was charged with a drunk driving felony, as well as a charge for fleeing the scene of an accident.
The incident took place in April of 2015, in Montcalm County. Gard was driving a pickup truck that contained one passenger, when he struck a motorcyclist at the M-82 and US-131 intersection. Although the rider was injured, he was knocked clear of his bike. The bike, however, became lodged beneath the pickup truck.
When Gard fled the scene, he dragged the motorcycle with him, until it eventually caught fire and engulfed his truck in flames. At about 12:15 am, Howard City firefighters responded to the scene of a vehicle fire, which they were able to put out. But that was when they discovered the motorcycle trapped beneath the burned out truck.
At that time, deputies at the scene of the fire were alerted to a nearby motorcycle accident. However, when they arrived they found an injured motorcyclist without a motorcycle. At this point, officers put two and two together, and figured out that Gard had been involved in the earlier accident, but had fled the scene and had been finally stopped when his truck caught fire just over two miles later.
The biker, 59-year-old Ken Frantz, was transported to an area hospital for treatment. He was found to have a broken collarbone, femur and ribs, and was also partially paralyzed. He has since returned home.
Gard was initially charged with driving while intoxicated causing serious injury, and also failure to stop at the scene of an accident, which are both felonies under Michigan law. However in September of 2015, he accepted a plea deal in which he pled no contest to single counts of failure to stop at the scene of a serious personal injury accident and operating under the influence of liquor. In return the prosecution agreed to a greatly reduced sentence.
Gard appeared recently before Montcalm County Circuit Court Judge Suzanne Kreeger for sentencing. He was ordered to spend a full year in jail, and also to submit to five years of probation following his release.