KALKASKA (WWJ/AP) – A driver who was involved in a two-van crash that killed her 27-year-old daughter, a 31-year-old high school golf coach and an 18-year-old student has pleaded no contest in the case.
Rhonda Mitchell, a 45-year-old Kalkaska resident, entered the plea earlier this week to a misdemeanor charge of committing a moving violation causing death. She had been facing felony manslaughter charges.
Eighteen-year-old Louis Menard, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, was killed after being ejected from the golf team’s van, police said. Coach Jason Potter and Cassandra Stapleton, Mitchell’s daughter, were also killed in the crash. Six others, including Mitchell, were hurt.
The accident happened April 29 in Kalkaska County’s Excelsior Township, about 15 miles west of Grayling.
According to police, Potter was driving a van carrying team members when he ran a stop sign and collided with another van. Both vans rolled after the crash.
Police said Mitchell, who was driving the other van, was going at least 77-mph in a 55-mph zone. She also tested positive for marijuana and morphine, a prescription painkiller, according to police.
A police investigation found that both Mitchell and Potter were at fault.
Kalkaska County Prosecutor Mike Perrault says he hopes the case will prevent people from driving recklessly.
Mitchell’s no-contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but will be treated that way at sentencing, which is set for Oct. 2.
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