Traverse City Record-Eagle

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July 20, 2013

Charges authorized in fatal crash that involved golf team

KALKASKA — The surviving driver of a devastating, two-vehicle fatal collision in Kalkaska County that involved the Grayling High School golf team faces criminal charges.

Kalkaska County Prosecutor Mike Perreault on Friday authorized felony charges against Rhonda Mitchell, 45, of Kalkaska, who was driving a minivan on April 29 that collided with another minivan driven by Grayling High School golf team head coach Jason Potter, 31, at the intersection of Crawford Lake Road and County Road 612.

Three people died, including Potter, and six others were injured.

Perreault said he charged Mitchell with three counts of manslaughter with a motor vehicle, three counts of a moving violation causing death and one count of child abuse.

A Michigan State Police investigation found both Mitchell and Potter shared some fault in the crash -- Potter didn’t stop at a posted stop sign and Mitchell’s minivan traveled at 77 mph at the point of impact. Toxicology results showed Mitchell had marijuana and morphine in her system. She had a prescription for morphine, but her medical marijuana patient card was expired.

“One of factors we were looking at were indications she had drugs in her system,” Perreault said.

Perreault said he considered additional charges based on the state police investigation. He said child abuse charges were filed because Mitchell’s actions endangered her 3-year-old granddaughter’s health and safety. The granddaughter was the only occupant of either vehicle that was uninjured in the crash.

Potter, Mitchell’s daughter Cassandra Stapleton, 27, of Kalkaska, and Louis Menard, 18, of Grayling, all died in the collision.

Perreault said an 87th District Court judge hadn’t approved the charges, but he expected they would be officially filed by Monday.

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