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Pregnant Mom Slams Car Into Crowd, Kills 2

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On Monday, May 20, 2024, Ashley Marie Monroe, a 35-year-old resident of Perrinton, Michigan, was arraigned on several felony charges. These charges resulted from a car crash in Watertown Township, which led to the fatalities of two men and injuries to 14 other individuals.

The crash happened on the evening of Saturday, May 18. Monroe allegedly drove under the influence and hit a group of relatives walking on South Wacousta Road, near Corrison Road. She then reportedly left the scene of the accident.

Monroe, who is pregnant and a mother of four, was detained by the police approximately three minutes after the accident. She faces 11 felony charges, which include two counts of operating while intoxicated leading to death, six counts of operating while intoxicated causing severe injury, and several counts of failure to stop at a crash scene when responsible.

In her arraignment, Monroe pleaded not guilty and did not require a formal reading of the charges. Clinton County District Court Judge Michael Clarizio set her bail at $1 million, twice the amount requested by the prosecutors.

The victims of the crash were identified as Johnathan Esch, 30, from Grand Haven, and Daniel Harris, 42, from Grand Ledge, both in Michigan. A 38-year-old woman is in critical condition, while 13 others, whose ages range from two to 61, suffered non-critical injuries. The group, mostly made up of family members, was reportedly walking along the road when Monroe’s vehicle hit them.

Evidence from the crash site indicated that Monroe’s vehicle was involved in the accident, as per the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office. Officers found blood and tissue on her car, and she had a mostly empty bottle of Crown Royal and two prescription bottles of anti-depressants. Monroe’s blood alcohol level was recorded at 0.183, well over the legal limit of 0.08.

During the court hearing, Monroe’s attorney highlighted her clean criminal record, her status as a lifelong Michigan resident, and her role as a mother to four children. However, the judge emphasized the serious nature of the charges and the need to safeguard the community, justifying the high bail amount.

The local community has been severely impacted by the tragic event. Debra Plichta, a local resident, voiced the shared grief, saying, “When something like this happens in our community, we all grieve.” The incident has ignited conversations about the necessity for enhanced pedestrian safety protocols in the area.

The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, along with several local law enforcement and emergency services, continues to probe the incident. “With heavy hearts, we pray for all individuals and families affected by this incident. We are here for all of you,” the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office expressed.

Monroe is set to appear in court again for a preliminary examination on June 6. Authorities are still investigating the incident, working to gather more information about the circumstances leading up to the crash.

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