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Man, 76, accused of injuring motorcyclists in drunken driving crash rejects offer that would have seen him avoid prison

Updated May 26, 2021; Posted May 26, 2021

2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid
The new 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid that has joined the Bay County Sheriff’s Office’s fleet of patrol vehicles.

BAY CITY, MI — A 76-year-old man accused of drunkenly crashing into a motorcycle, injuring its two riders, has rejected a plea deal that would have prevented him from going to prison.

Dennis R. Taylor was charged Feb. 26 with two counts of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury, a five-year felony.

The charges stem from a crash that occurred in Kawkawlin Township on June 25, 2020.https://c4510b70b8bb2fa9542c8357e90a3988.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Just before Taylor’s preliminary examination on Wednesday, May 26, Bay County Assistant Prosecutor Kiel Chamberlain said he had made Taylor the offer that if he pleads guilty to the two counts against him, he would agree to Taylor not serving prison time on his initial sentence.

If the hearing proceeded with witness testimony, Chamberlain said he would withdraw the offer.

Defense attorney Matthew L. Reyes, seated beside Taylor, said his client was rejecting the offer.

The hearing then began with Chamberlain calling Bay County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Van Horn to the witness stand. Van Horn testified that at 6:26 p.m. on June 25, he was dispatched to a two-vehicle crash on South Huron Road (M-13) and East Parish Road.

He arrived to find a white Honda Odyssey minivan facing west in the northbound lanes and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle lying on its side, both having sustained extensive front-end damage.

A man and woman—the motorcycle’s riders—were lying nearby, Van Horn said.

“You could see the blood coming from the back of (the woman’s) head,” he testified. “She was laying on the blacktop. (The man) was pretty banged up.”

The woman was conscious but not coherent, the deputy said.

“She just couldn’t communicate,” he said. The pair were removed from the scene via ambulance.

Taylor was outside of the minivan and approached Van Horn, he said.

“He told me it was his fault, that he didn’t see the motorcycle,” the deputy testified. “He wouldn’t tell me where he was coming from.”

Van Horn smelled a moderate odor of alcohol emanating from Taylor, he said.

“His balance was off,” the deputy testified. “He was visibly upset as well. He had a hard time standing without swaying.”https://c4510b70b8bb2fa9542c8357e90a3988.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Van Horn said he asked Taylor if he had been drinking. Taylor replied he had consumed four beers, the last of which he drank about two and a half hours earlier, Van Horn said.

Taylor performed poorly on field sobriety tests, leading Van Horn to believe he was intoxicated. The deputy arrested Taylor and drove him to the Bay County Jail.

Chamberlain asked the deputy what Taylor’s conduct was like on the ride.

“Not very nice at all,” Van Horn said. “Mr. Taylor stated the motorcycle was speeding, he was not at fault, that he shouldn’t be arrested, that his van has 1,000 miles on it (and) it’s brand new. He didn’t show too much remorse for two people he had almost killed. That continued pretty much the whole way to the jail.”

At the jail, Taylor twice blew into a Datamaster alcohol-testing device. Results indicated his blood alcohol level was 0.10 and 0.09 at 7:42 p.m. and 7:44 p.m., respectively.https://c4510b70b8bb2fa9542c8357e90a3988.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

In Michigan, a person is legally intoxicated when their blood alcohol level hits 0.08.

Deputies arrested Taylor.

Van Horn testified he later visited the injured motorcyclists at the hospital.

“They were both very banged up,” he said.

Police reports contained in court records indicate the woman involved suffered a fractured skull and brain bleed.

Testimony for the day ended due to Reyes needing to appear in an unrelated case in another county.

The hearing is to resume at 2 p.m. June 17. https://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw-bay-city/2021/05/man-76-accused-of-injuring-motorcyclists-in-drunken-driving-crash-rejects-offer-that-would-have-seen-him-avoid-prison.html