Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Saturday

April 12, 2014

No charges yet in crash on U.S. 31

TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County prosecutors still haven’t filed charges against a local judge’s son and a Kingsley man who drove the cars involved in an alcohol-related two-vehicle crash.

Travis Gary-Leinier Ingersoll, 25, of Kingsley, and Michael Joseph Stepka, 24, of Kalamazoo, drove a BMW and a Mini Cooper, respectively, side-by-side down U.S. 31 North early Thursday. The vehicles collided near Three Mile Road and Stepka’s vehicle careened into two utility poles.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney said he received a complaint requesting drunken driving charges against Ingersoll on Friday, but not for Stepka.

“It’s my understanding they’re waiting on a blood test result on that,” he said. “It would come from the Michigan State Police and take seven to 10 days.”

Cooney said he’s yet to make a decision on Ingersoll’s case. He said he’s considering asking that another prosecutor look into Stepka’s case; Stepka is 86th District Court Chief Judge Michael S. Stepka’s son.

Court Administrator Carol Stocking said she expects the elder Stepka to excuse himself from the case, but doesn’t yet know what the other two district judges will do.

Grand Traverse County sheriff’s Capt. Chris Clark said he didn’t know the speed at which Ingersoll and Stepka traveled, whether they knew each other, or if they’d been involved in a race or chase.

“We’re still putting it all together,” he said.

The younger Stepka’s vehicle plowed through two utility poles and knocked out power for about 900 surrounding residents. He’s listed in fair condition at Munson Medical Center.

Authorities believe Ingersoll fled the scene after Stepka crashed. Deputies arrested Ingersoll at a nearby hotel and seek charges of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury, possession of marijuana, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and being in possession of an open intoxicant.

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