A 27-year-old Manton man was arraigned on eight criminal charges in the wake of a fatal accident that occurred Monday afternoon in Branch Township.
David Allen Wellington, of 7119 E. 12 Road in Manton, was arraigned Wednesday on two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of operating while intoxicated causing death, one count of operating while intoxicated causing miscarriage/stillbirth, one count of failing to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death, one count of operating without a license and a count of habitual-offender supplemental warrant fourth conviction.
In a press release from Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Kreinbrink, she noted that Wellington is innocent until proven guilty, and she was thankful for the responding agencies for their care and investigation.
Wellington is alleged to have been behind the wheel of a 2010 Jeep Patriot that struck a 2005 Buick Terraza. David Lee Mclain-Williams, 24, and his girlfriend Ashley Nicole Plotts, 22, both of Scottville, died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash that was reported at 1:42 p.m. Monday. Plotts was eight months pregnant with a boy to be named David Jr., and the unborn baby also died as a result of the crash, according to previous reports.
Wellington allegedly attempted to leave the scene of the crash, but was apprehended by conservation officers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Mason County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of members of the community. Wellington suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and he was treated at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital.
Kreinbrink stated in the release that allegedly Wellington consumed alcohol, and it was a factor in the crash.
“Following a comprehensive review of the available investigative reports, legal research and consideration of the totality of the circumstances within the case, (I) issued the charges… against Mr. Wellington on (Wednesday),” she stated in the release.
Each of the felony counts of second-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, Kreinbrink stated. The two felony counts of operating while intoxicated causing death carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison each. The felony count of operating under the influence causing miscarriage/stillbirth carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. The misdemeanor count of failing to stop at the scene of a serious personal injury accident carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The misdemeanor count of operating without a license was with the felony count of fourth offense habitual offender, and Kreinbrink stated it carried a maximum penalty of life in prison.
79th District Court Magistrate Glenn Jackson III set the bond at $500,000 cash/surety during the arraignment Wednesday afternoon.
Jackson, before setting the terms of Wellington’s bond, said Wellington allegedly had a high blood alcohol level and driving at speeds higher than 90 mph.
“I cannot think of more of a public safety risk in the community than someone ripping up and down the highway (in that way),” Jackson said during the arraignment, which was conducted via Zoom.
Jackson said Wellington has not been convicted yet, but there is strong evidence against him.
“It was chilling what happened,” Jackson said.
Jackson encouraged Wellington to take care of himself and to seek out counseling through Community Mental Health as the legal process unfolds.
“I do appreciate you being impacted in this case,” Jackson said. “I want you to talk to people.”
The probable cause hearing in the case is scheduled for March 17. According to Kreinbrink’s release, the preliminary examination in 79th District Court is scheduled for March 24.
Responding Monday to the scene of the crash were law enforcement officers from the Michigan State Police Hart Post, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, the DNR, members of the Scottville, Custer and Branch fire departments, including the Custer Jaws of Life, Life EMS and the Victim Services Unit of the sheriff’s office.