Traverse City Record-Eagle

Region

September 6, 2008

Week In Review: 09/07/2008

BENZIE

Ex-corrections officer gets probation

BEULAH -- A judge sentenced a former Benzie County Sheriff's Department corrections officer to two years of probation.

Douglas Ray Randolph, 37, pleaded guilty in July to interfering with a police investigation. Benzie Sheriff Robert Blank fired Randolph in 2006 after an investigation into a relationship he had with a female inmate, and Randolph admitted during his plea that he lied to investigators as they probed the relationship.

He filed a union grievance after his firing, but an arbitrator eventually upheld the decision. Authorities charged him with the misdemeanor interference count shortly after.

CRAWFORD

New charges in pedestrian's death

GRAYLING -- A vehicle struck and killed Neil Pearce as he walked along a state highway more than 18 months ago, leaving grieving family members to wonder if and when anyone would be held responsible.

But last week authorities charged Grayling resident William Roger Gildner Jr., 47, with operating a vehicle under the influence causing death, a felony.

Gildner faces 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, if convicted.

Pearce, of Mio, walked along M-72 west of Grayling late Jan. 18, 2007, when he was struck and killed by a vehicle allegedly driven by Gildner, who did not stop at the scene and told authorities he thought he'd hit a deer.

Gildner eventually was charged with felony failure to stop at the scene of an accident when at fault and causing a death, plus other misdemeanor charges, including driving without a valid license and without insurance.

But those charges were dropped in April this year because Gildner was to be charged with other crimes, court records show.

The new charges came after Pearce's family publicly complained about what they contend was a lack of progress on the case.

Axiom changes theme park plan

GRAYLING -- Would-be developers of a theme park in Crawford County want to alter their plans and buy a smaller chunk of state-owned forest at a lower price.

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