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February 13, 2013

Motorist accused in fatal crash free while awaiting trial

BELLAIRE — A motorist accused of driving drunk in a crash that killed an Antrim County woman will remain free while awaiting trial.

Thomas Joseph Altobelli, 60, of Harrison Township, was arraigned this week on felony operating under the influence causing death and other charges in Antrim County District Court. Court records show Altobelli was released on a $20,000 bond.

Authorities said Altobelli drove a vehicle that crashed head-on into another vehicle along Alba Highway on Nov. 23. Diane Shafer, 37, was a passenger in the second vehicle and died from injuries suffered in the crash. The mother of three was a food service and preschool aide for Central Lake schools.

Two blood-alcohol tests were administered to Altobelli. The first test indicated a result of 0.207. The second came back at 0.23. The legal limit is 0.08 in Michigan.

Altobelli is ordered to stay away from alcohol while he awaits trial. He also has to turn in a concealed weapons permit.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled in district court for Feb. 28.

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