MUNDY TWP. (WWJ) – An 18-year-old Genesee County man is facing eight felony charges in connection with a wrong-way crash that killed a new bride and critically injured her 11-year-old son.
Zachary Parker, of Swartz Creek, was arraigned Friday in 67th District Court on charges that include second-degree murder, manslaughter, operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death and reckless driving causing death in the Feb. 9 crash that killed 36-year-old Maria Bailey-Collins.
Toxicology reports indicate that Parker’s blood alcohol content was .197 percent at the time of the crash — more than twice the .08 legal limit for driving in Michigan and nearly 10 times the .02 legal limit for minors.
“Drunk driving is a serious crime,” Prosecutor David Leyton said in a statement. “This is a harsh example of just how serious a crime it can be. An innocent victim’s life is taken and two other individuals have been badly injured. A man has lost his bride and a boy has lost his mother.”
According to evidence in police investigative reports, Parker and a group of underage friends began drinking whiskey shots around 7 p.m. at the Boulder Creek Apartments, near East Maple Avenue and I-475 in Burton.
Police say Parker left the apartment around 10 p.m. in white Chevrolet Impala and was witnessed about ten minutes later making a wide turn from Grand Blanc Road, heading south onto the northbound US-23 exit ramp. Soon after, police say 911 began receiving numerous reports of a white vehicle travelling south on northbound US-23.
Meantime, Bailey-Collins was heading north along US-23 with her son and new husband Bryan, who she married just four days earlier.
Around 10:15 p.m., police received a 911 call about a head-on crash on US-23 in Mundy Township. Officers rushed to the scene and discovered that Parker was, in fact, driving the wrong way down the freeway and eventually collided head-on with Bailey-Collins’ vehicle.
Bailey-Collins was pronounced dead at the scene, while her son and husband were rushed to the hospital. Parker suffered minor injuries in the crash. Leyton told reporters the boy had to have his jaw wired shut in addition to suffering serious injuries to his back and pelvis.
Parker was also charged with operating while intoxicated causing serious injury, reckless driving causing serious impairment of a body function, operating while intoxicated causing serious injury, and reckless driving causing serious impairment of a body function.
The second-degree murder charge carries a penalty of up to life in prison. The manslaughter, operating while intoxicated and reckless driving causing death charges carry a penalty up to 15-years in prison. The remaining charges carry up to five-years in prison.
Bond was set at $240,000. Parker is due back in court on March 19 for a preliminary examination.