Was Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death Passenger’s Fault?
If you ask Kowase D. Scroggins about that terrible night back in June of 2014, he may admit that he was drunk behind the wheel at the time, but he is certain that the crash wasn’t his fault. In fact, if it wasn’t for something that Adonis Mitchner, his passenger, had done? Well, they would probably both still be alive.
On January 15th, jurors in a Saginaw County Circuit Court trial convicted Scroggins of Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death. Under Michigan law, this is a 15 year felony. Which means that Scroggins is facing over a decade behind bars. But we won’t know exactly what his sentence on the Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death conviction is until March. Scroggins is scheduled for sentencing March 10th.
But Scroggins doesn’t believe he got a fair deal. At his recent trial, he testified in his own defense. He explained what happened that night. And why he believes that he wasn’t actually at fault for Mitchner’s death.
According to his own testimony, Scroggins was driving his SUV that night. Mitchner was in the passenger seat. At one point Scroggins lost control of his vehicle, and bumped the curb with the rear wheel. But at that moment, perhaps in an effort to right the vehicle, Mitcher leaned over and jerked the steering wheel. This caused the entire vehicle to roll over. Which was when Mitchner was ejected from the vehicle and ultimately killed.
But the jury wasn’t buying it. In part this is likely because Scroggins was also driving on a suspended license and with a blood alcohol count of .195. That’s above the state’s “super drunk” limit. Added is the fact that Scroggins has a relatively long criminal history. He was charged as a fourth time offender.
It is worth pointing out that this was Scroggins’ second time around on this particular charge. He initially accepted a plea agreement shere the Judge had agreed to a nine year minimum sentence, after reviewing the case and Scroggins’ criminal history. However, at the sentencing, the Judge ordered Scroggins to spend 15 to 30 years in prison. So Scroggins withdrew his plea. And the process had to begin all over again.
All of this goes to show that Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death is not a charge you want to mess around with. If you, or someone you love, is charged with Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death, call us right away. We can help protect your rights.