Jackson County OWI Causing Death
Collin Larson, the 22-year-old Wisconsin man accused of driving drunk and killing a Parma woman in a fatal collision, has plead guilty to the charge against him. But this isn’t the first time he has entered a plea in court with regards to this case.
In the early morning hours on January 9th, 2014, Larson is said to have caused a fatal car accident as a result of drunk driving. Kathy Kopulos, the woman driving the other vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. Larson, at the time only 20-years-of-age, was recorded as having a BAC of .072. This is just below Michigan’s legal limit for drivers.
He was charged with Operating under the influence of alcohol causing death, which is a felony. And on July 28th, he plead no contest to the charge. However, after the plea had been entered, Larson found out that he wasn’t eligible for Special Alternative Incarceration. Because that had been the basis for his plea agreement in the OWII causing death, Larson withdrew his plea.
But sometime between then and now, a two month period of time, Larson has changed his mind once again. Appearing in the Jackson County Court and entered a plea of guilty to the charge of OWI causing death.
The prosecution is actually very pleased with Larson’s choice, as this particular trial would have presented them with considerably more challenges than the average fatal DUI. For starters, Larson’s BAC was actually below the state’s legal limit for drunk drivers. While this doesn’t absolve Larson of DUI charges, it does mean that the prosecution would be burdened with the job of proving that Larson’s ability to operate a car was “significantly affected” by the alcohol he had consumed, and he couldn’t drive safely.
Additionally, the prosecutors would also bear the burden of proving that the crash was the leading cause of Kopulos’ death. In many cases this wouldn’t have presented a problem, but in this particular case, there are a number of other factors present.
Kopulos had a small quantity of marijuana in her system at the time of death. She was also not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision, and was traveling somewhere between 42 and 47 mph on a road partially covered with ice and snow.
Having pled guilty to this charge, Larson is looking at more than a decade behind bars. Under Michigan law, OWI causing death is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.