Michigan Drunk Driving Causing Death Trial
Late last year, on the night of October 10th, Joseph Ford joined friends at the Florentine Pizzeria Ristorante & Sports Lounge in Grand Rapids, MI. According to the bartenders working that night, Ford drank 4 beers and 4 ‘Jagerbombs’. They also observed that his pupils looked misshapen. One of the bartenders was a friend of Ford’s from high school. She stated that she knew he struggled with ADHD and was taking prescription Adderall.
Shortly before 10pm, Ford left the restaurant in his 2006 Dodge Charger and was driving north on Patterson SE when when he ran a red light at 36th Street. His car struck a Mazda driven by Eric Fischer, aged 23, and containing Andrea Herrera, aged 20, who was Fischer’s girlfriend. The impact pushed the Mazda into an oncoming semi-truck.
Fischer and Herrera were both severely injured at the scene. Two AeroMed flight nurses happened to be driving in the area at the time of the crash and tried to assist the wounded couple, but to no avail. Fischer and Herrera both died as a result of their injuries.
Fords blood alcohol over the legal limit
According to two separate Michigan State Police blood-draw tests, Fords blood alcohol level was registered at .087, and then when tested by staff at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital it registered at .125. The legal limit for drunk driving in Michigan is .08 percent. MSP forensic analysis also showed that Ford’s blood tested positive for amphetamines, morphine and promethazine.
Ford has been charged with two felony counts of drunk driving causing death, and two felony counts of reckless driving causing death. Under Michigan law causing a death while driving drunk is a felony that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $2,500 to $10,000, or both.
The trial is expected to last the rest of the week and wrap up on Friday. Ford remains free on a $50,000 bond. As a condition of his bond, Ford also wears an electronic tether that monitors his blood-alcohol level.