Michigan man found not guilty on all counts in state trooper's I-75 dragging death
Defense attorney: 'No winners' in this case
PONTIAC, Mich. – A jury announced Wednesday 70-year-old Charles Warren shouldn't spend time in prison after he struck and killed a Michigan State Police trooper back in August 2015 on I-75.
Warren, of Waterford, was found not guilty on all charges including two felony counts of reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. He was accused of hitting trooper Chad Wolf and dragging him under a trailer for miles Aug. 28, 2015 on Interstate 75 while Wolf was on patrol with his department-issued motorcycle.
Wolf, 38, died hours after his body was found near the trailer parked at an I-75 rest stop. He had been a trooper since 2008. He left behind a wife and four children. Warren was arrested weeks later.
Aug. 28, 2015
Police said Wolf was struck by Warren's car which was towing a trailer about 6:30 a.m. that morning when he was crossing I-75 on Dixie Highway in Springfield Township. The collision threw the trooper off his bike and trapped him under the trailer. He was dragged for several miles under the trailer. Warren didn't stop until the next rest area, which was 4.3 miles down the highway.
"It appears that he was cut off by another vehicle. That's the individual that we're discussing with right now," said Lt. Michael Shaw at the time. "The thing that's different about this particular crash is the size of the actual scene. We have to start from the very beginning to go through and find bits and pieces of evidence as we work our way through."
About 3,500 people gathered Sept. 1, 2015 for Wolf's funeral at Fenton High School.
Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor David Hudson told jurors Warren needed to go to prison for driving his trailer without lights and missing his turn onto I-75, then striking Wolf on his motorcycle.
"The evidence in this case is going to show the defendant knew, or had reason to know, he was involved in an accident and that it was his driving that was the cause of it, and that it was his continuing on that was the cause of this death," Hudson said.
The jury saw patrol car video of Warren talking to himself out loud, devastated to learn he caused the trooper's death.
Warren's defense attorney Neil Rockind argued this was a tragic accident which Warren could not have intentionally caused. He repeated in court, "Charlie made a mistake."
After the jury announced its verdict Wednesday, Rockind said "there are no winners."
“This is a case where there are no winners,” Rockind said. “There were no winners when the accident took place. There were no winners when the prosecution started. There are still no winners today. I can’t imagine that any juror is necessarily happy about a verdict in this case, it just happens to be the right verdict."
The jury of three women and nine men deliberated for about four hours this week before reaching their verdict Wednesday morning.
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