Drunk Driver Charged With Murder After Allegedly Crashing Into Children’s Birthday Party, Police Say

(Photo by Samantha Laurey / AFP) (Photo by SAMANTHA LAUREY/AFP via Getty Images)

Fiona McLoughlin Contributor
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A 66-year-old woman is facing multiple charges, including second-degree murder, after allegedly crashing into a children’s birthday party Saturday in Michigan, the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (MCPO) said Tuesday.

Marshella Marie Chidester allegedly crashed into the Swan Boat Club in Newport, Michigan, where a birthday party was being held, MCPO says in the press release. Surveillance video appeared to catch the car rushing through the parking lot and into the boat house. The car came to a stop about 25-feet inside the building, a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) press release states.

An eight-year-old girl and her four-year-old brother were killed during the reported crash, MCSO said. At the time of the incident, first-aid was provided to roughly 15 victims, including both children and adults.

The mother of the two children and her 11-year-old son were seriously injured in the event, according to MCPO. An 18-year-old female and a 14-year-old male also suffered serious injuries. (RELATED: REPORT: Three 15-Year-Olds Die After Crash Car Into House).

Chidester is facing two charges of second-degree murder, two counts of operating under the influence causing death and four counts of operating under the influence causing serious injury, according to MCPO. She was arraigned in court Tuesday and is being held at a bond of $1.5 million.

Bill Colovos, one of Chidester’s attorneys, said she lost control of the vehicle during the crash and has a history of epileptic seizures in her legs, NBC News reported. Colovos added that Chidester only had a single glass of wine about four hours prior to the crash.

“This is not a monster,” Colovos said at the hearing, according to NBC. “It’s horrible what happened, absolutely horrible. I have two children. It’s absolutely horrible. But some things we don’t have control over.”

Monroe County’s Prosecuting Attorney Jeffery A. Yorke reportedly refuted the claim about a seizure, saying “her blood alcohol level was significantly over the legal limit,” NBC reported.

“There is no indication, whatsoever, in any of the evidence that we have uncovered in this case, that the defendant suffered from a seizure at the time of this incident,”  Yorkey reportedly said at the hearing. “She indicated herself that she had some seizure issues and she was on some medication, and that she wasn’t supposed to be drinking, but admitted that she had been drinking that day.”

Chidester’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 30, according to MCPO.