Usually when one hears about a fatal drunk driving accident, it involves a drunk driver and their victim. In this case, however, both drivers were intoxicated at the time of the accident. Which makes this case interesting in its facts, but no less tragic in its outcome.
At about 10 pm at night, when visibility is greatly reduced by darkness, Taylor John Miedema was speeding down the road on his 2007 Yamaha motorcycle. Accident reconstructionists have determined that he was travelling at 80 or 90 mph. At that speed, in the darkness, and under the influence of alcohol, he was already putting himself at great risk.
Dawn Anne Batchelder was backing her Chevy Tahoe out of a driveway. She was also intoxicated at the time. But due to the speed that Miedema was traveling at, and the impaired line of sight, she didn’t even see him coming. Police say that there was no way that she could have known that he was there. She backed out into the street, and Miedema was unable to stop in time. The motorcycle and the SUV collided, with disastrous results.
Miedema died at the scene of the fatal accident. Batchelder was unharmed, but was arrested for drunk driving. Initially, Batchelder was charged with operating while intoxicated causing death, which is a fifteen year felony here in Michigan. But the subsequent investigation proved that there was nothing that she could have done differently, even if she had been sober.
That charge was dropped, and instead she is now facing a misdemeanor charge of operating while intoxicated. This means only 93 days in jail if she is convicted, and a suspension of her driver’s license for 30 days. According to Kent County Prosecutor, William Forsyth, Miedema’s family was made aware of the facts of the situation before the new, reduced charge was revealed.
Batchelder, whose own son was killed in a traffic accident last year in Texas, is expected to enter a plea this month in the Kent County District Court. As of now, there is no information available regarding how she intends to plead.