Tue. May 28th, 2024

Michigan woman allegedly crashed into child’s birthday party, killing 2 kids and injuring others

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts May19,2024

NEWPORT, Mich. (TCD) — A 66-year-old woman allegedly crashed into a children’s birthday party while intoxicated over the weekend, killing two young siblings and severely injuring several people.

According to a news release from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, on Saturday, April 20, at around 3 p.m., emergency personnel responded to an “extremely chaotic” scene at the Swan Boat Club. A woman, later identified by the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as Marshella Chidester, allegedly drove into the club, and deputies said her vehicle “came to rest approximately 25 feet inside the building.” Officials rendered aid to approximately 15 injured victims, including adults and young kids.

In an update, the sheriff’s office said nine people were transported to hospitals via ambulance or air ambulance, including a 31-year-old woman and an 11-year-old boy, who both remain in critical condition. Three teens transported via ambulance, ages 18, 16, and 14 years old, are reportedly in serious condition, and four older adults, ages 70, 66, 62, and 57 years old, sustained minor injuries.

According to the sheriff’s office, individuals transported several other victims to hospitals, and a 42-year-old man sought treatment on his own for non-life-threatening injuries.

Two siblings, 8-year-old Alanah Phillips and 4-year-old Zayn Philips, were pronounced dead at the scene, according to authorities.

The prosecuting attorney’s office announced that they charged Chidester with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of operating while intoxicated causing death, and four counts of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury. Chidester faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted of the second-degree murder charges.

Chidester appeared in court for her arraignment on April 23, and a judge set her bond at $1.5 million. Chidester will have to wear a GPS and alcohol tether if she posts bond.

According to the Detroit News, Chidester’s attorney argued that she suffered leg seizures, went into paralysis, and then crashed into the boat club. However, Monroe County Prosecutor Jeffrey Yorkey reportedly claimed there was no evidence Chidester had a seizure that day, and a breath test allegedly revealed her blood alcohol level was over the legal limit.

In a statement posted the day after the incident, the Swan Boat Club wrote, “We have no profound words that can heal us after the unimaginable tragedy that occurred yesterday, April 20, 2024, at Swan Boat Club, only feelings.”

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Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “Michigan woman allegedly crashed into child’s birthday party, killing 2 kids and injuring others”
  1. Such a tragic incident. How devastating for the families involved. This woman’s careless actions have caused irreparable harm. My heart goes out to all the victims and their loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.

  2. How could this tragedy have been prevented? Were there any warning signs about the driver’s behavior prior to the accident?

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