BAY CITY, MI — Nearly two years after two motorcyclists were left severely injured after a minivan crashed into them in northern Bay County, the man who drunkenly caused the crash has accepted a plea deal.
Dennis R. Taylor, 77, on Monday, April 11, appeared before Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran and pleaded no contest to two counts of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury, a five-year felony. There were no additional charges to dismiss, though the prosecution agreed to Taylor not receiving prison time on his initial sentence.
By pleading no contest rather than guilty, Taylor did not admit to having committed a crime. As such, Sheeran relied on other documents to enter convictions on the record.
The convictions stem from a crash that occurred in Kawkawlin Township in June 2020. In a May 26 preliminary examination, Bay County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Van Horn testified that at 6:26 p.m. on June 25, he was dispatched to a two-vehicle crash on South Huron Road (M-13) and East Parish Road.
He arrived to find a white Honda Odyssey minivan facing west in the northbound lanes and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle lying on its side, both having sustained extensive front-end damage.
A man and woman — the motorcycle’s riders — were lying nearby, Van Horn said.
“You could see the blood coming from the back of (the woman’s) head,” he testified. “She was laying on the blacktop. (The man) was pretty banged up.”
The woman was conscious but not coherent, the deputy said.
“She just couldn’t communicate,” he said. The pair were removed from the scene via ambulance.
Taylor was outside of the minivan and approached Van Horn, he said.
“He told me it was his fault, that he didn’t see the motorcycle,” the deputy testified. “He wouldn’t tell me where he was coming from.”
Van Horn smelled a moderate odor of alcohol emanating from Taylor, he said.
“His balance was off,” the deputy testified. “He was visibly upset as well. He had a hard time standing without swaying.”
Van Horn said he asked Taylor if he had been drinking. Taylor replied he had consumed four beers, the last of which he drank about two and a half hours earlier, the deputy said.
Taylor performed poorly on field sobriety tests, leading Van Horn to believe he was intoxicated. The deputy arrested Taylor and drove him to the Bay County Jail.
The deputy added Taylor disavowed blame on the drive to the jail.
“Mr. Taylor stated the motorcycle was speeding, he was not at fault, that he shouldn’t be arrested, that his van has 1,000 miles on it (and) it’s brand new,” Van Horn said. “He didn’t show too much remorse for two people he had almost killed. That continued pretty much the whole way to the jail.”
At the jail, Taylor twice blew into a Datamaster alcohol-testing device. Results indicated his blood alcohol level was 0.10 and 0.09 at 7:42 p.m. and 7:44 p.m., respectively.
In Michigan, a person is legally intoxicated when their blood alcohol level hits 0.08.
Police reports contained in court records indicate the woman involved suffered a fractured skull and brain bleed.
Judge Sheeran is to sentence Taylor at 9 a.m. on May 31.
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