Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 28, 2010

Man charged in fatal rollover accident

Saturday rollover resulted in death of a passenger


TRAVERSE CITY — A Long Lake Township man with a history of speeding faces felony charges for driving drunk and causing an accident that killed one passenger and seriously injured another.

The Grand Traverse County Prosecutor's office on Tuesday charged Curtis Lee Green, 22, with operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and a separate charge of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury, a five-year felony.

Green's blood-alcohol level registered 0.176 percent, more than twice the legal limit, according to court documents.

Grand Traverse sheriff's deputies arrested Green after he rolled his vehicle around 3 a.m. Saturday on South Long Lake Road. Joseph David Welburn, 20, of Traverse City, died at Munson Medical Center after he was thrown from the back seat.

Scott Lee Hepner, 19, of Grawn, was thrown through a side window and suffered a fractured skull and internal injuries. He was flown to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor for treatment.

Green told police he attended a bonfire party on South Long Lake Road with Hepner where he had consumed six to seven beers between midnight and 2:45 a.m. Welburn and his brother, Brian Welburn, who was uninjured in the crash, asked for a ride home.

Green lost control of his Subaru Legacy as he sped along a curve near Green Lake Township, struck a sign and tree, and rolled the vehicle.

Green said he was driving the speed limit and did not recall rolling the vehicle, according to the police report.

Records from the Michigan Secretary of State shows Green has four speeding tickets, two accidents and one license suspension on his record. The first two speeding incidents occurred in 2005, less than a year after Green received his license. He also was involved in a two-vehicle crash that resulted in three injuries before his license was taken away in 2005.

He was cited for speeding again in 2008 and then again for speeding for his involvement in a one-vehicle crash in July 2009 in Leland.

Green is scheduled for arraignment today in 86th District Court. He was released from jail after posting 10 percent of a $10,000 bond.

Welburn's funeral services will be held today at 11 a.m. at Bay Pointe Community Church in Traverse City.