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Man charged with murder, OWI in fatal Mich. crash

A 32-year-old man faces murder and drunk driving charges following an accident that killed a young Michigan woman and two preschool-age girls.

In all, officials have filed 11 felony counts against the man in South Haven District Court in southwestern Michigan. The charges are three counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death, three counts of second-degree murder and five other counts.

Witnesses told police that the man was driving a pickup truck headed west on a road in Geneva Township. When he tried to pass a car in front of him, he and the oncoming car traveling eastbound collided head-on. The pickup truck then hit another car - the one he tried to pass at the beginning.

The accident left the 24-year-old driver of the first car, a Bangor resident, dead. Her passengers, sisters ages 4 and 2, also died. Their father, 24, suffered injuries that required hospitalization. The hospital listed him in stable condition.

The man, his children and his cousin had ventured out to eat at a fast-food restaurant and were en route home when the accident occurred. The youngsters did not have child-safety seats, and the adults were not wearing their seat belts. Additionally, the woman driving had a suspended license.

The pickup driver also sustained injuries in the accident.

Drinking and driving, if indeed the man was, never is acceptable. However, in this case, the accident might have ended differently had the woman and children been properly restrained in the car. Children never should ride without a safety seat, and the driver holds the responsibility of making sure that all passengers have required protective devices fastened before moving the car. Additionally, she should have worn a seat belt herself. A tragic accident potentially could have been avoided, and the pickup driver might not find himself facing murder charges if the woman had followed the law.

Source: Associated Press, "Man faces murder charges in deadly Michigan crash," Nov. 15, 2012 

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