Joshua Lucas Runnels, the 21-year-old resident of Baldwin who police say killed one friend and injured another as a result of a drunken and reckless driving accident, appeared in the Kent County District Court on Wednesday, October 1st.
Court documents say that Runnels chose to waive his preliminary examination, and his case will now move on to the Kent County Circuit Court. Runnels is charged with operating while intoxicated, drunk and reckless driving causing death, and drunk and reckless driving causing serious injury. He will be appearing before Judge George Buth.
Events Leading To Reckless and Drunk Driving Charges
The tragic incident that led to these charges occurred on July 23rd at almost midnight. According to Michigan State Police investigators, Runnels was driving his Toyota Camry on M-57, drunk and travelling at high speed. He allegedly tried to pass another car by driving on the shoulder of the road, but lost control of his vehicle. As a result, he crossed the center line of the road and ran straight into oncoming traffic, crashing head-first into a Chevy Traverse.
Runnel’s friend, Charles “Treaver” Gregory Samuel, a 20-year-old from Greenville, was a backseat passenger in the vehicle at the time of the crash. He was ejected from the car on impact, and declared dead at the scene.
Cody Ross-Michael Parker, a 22-year-old from Rockford, had been Runnel’s front seat passenger. He too was ejected from the vehicle at the time of the crash, and was hospitalized for severe injuries.
Although police have yet to release the results of Runnel’s blood alcohol tests from the accident, the fact that he is being charged for drunk driving leads us to believe that he was above Michigan’s legal limit of 0.08.
Runnels spent some time in hospital following the accident, before he was considered well enough to be held at the Kent County Jail. If convicted, Runnels is facing a maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison.