WALLED LAKE, Mich. – The family of a 13-year-old girl killed in a horrible crash wants answers, and Tuesday, the prosecutor’s office responded.
Piper Carrothers, 13, died in March on her way home from skating practice in Walled Lake.
The Oakland County Prosecutor charged a 15-year-old driver with running from the scene and cops.
For the first time, Carrothers’ parents talked about the crash that killed their daughter and injured other family members and openly criticized the charging decision in the case.
The tragic accident sent half a dozen vehicles careening in an intersection like pinballs.
It started as a police chase and ended up in the death of Carrothers who was on her way home from figure skating practice.
The charges filed have grieving parents Bill and Erica Carrothers wondering why. In their opinion, the prosecutor’s office undercharged the defendants.
Walled Lake police dash camera video showed a Jeep Gladiator take a left-hand turn eastbound on East-West Maple Road near Decker Road.
The officer then gave chase, but called it off as the Jeep got too far away.
The Jeep kept speeding, jumped another red light at Decker Road, and slammed at a high rate of speed into multiple vehicles.
“The first thing I realized was the airbags were off, and I was spinning,” said Piper’s mother Erica Carrothers.
Erica drove her red Honda Fit home from ice skating practice in Novi. She was blindsided with her two daughters in the back seat.
Corra Carrothers, 10, all of 55 pounds, was launched from the vehicle, landing on the pavement with terrible head and neck injuries.
Seriously injured and dazed, Erica called 911 only to see Piper sitting limp and trapped in the back passenger seat.
“I mean she didn’t look great at the time but you know they’re telling me she’s still breathing, you still have hope right,” Erica said.
First responders rushed Piper to Henry Ford Hospital. Her dad Bill arrived just ahead of her ambulance, watching in horror as doctors feverishly tried to save her.
“Once it was confirmed that she wasn’t going to survive, you turn to the next child that is in your need,” said Bill Carrothers.
After weeks of extensive medical care and surgery, Cora and Erica will likely recover physically.
“I personally relive the accident in my dreams very frequently, very emotional,” Erica said.
Walled Lake police say two young men, 19-year-old friend Gavin Kassab of Commerce Township, rode in the passenger seat while an unidentified 15-year-old from West Bloomfield drove the Jeep.
Then, Kassab, police say, posted the chase live on social media. After the crash, both men ran away.
Kassab faces felony fleeing and eluding death resulting in a 15-year felony if found guilty, along with a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of an injury accident.
The 15-year-old driver was charged as a juvenile with the same crimes and could possibly not receive any jail time.
Erica and Bill were disappointed. They believe the charges were entirely too mild.
“I don’t think either of us wants to see him at 20, be clear of this,” Bill said.
“My daughter isn’t coming out of her urn in four or five years, she’s in there forever,” Erica said.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald does have the discretion to charge the juvenile as an adult.
David Williams, the Chief Assistant Prosecutor of Oakland County, says they received some new information after speaking with the Carrothers Tuesday (May 23).
“So we received some new information that the prosecutor did not have when we made the initial decision, and she wants to take the time to take a very careful look at that and see if, in fact, she should add charges and whether there is any other steps we need to take because we need to do the right thing,” said Williams.
Williams also wants everyone to know the felony fleeing and eluding first-degree charge brings with it the same penalty as manslaughter. A charge the Carrothers thought seemed to make sense.
A probable cause conference for Kassab is scheduled for May 24.