TRAVERSE CITY — A man faced charges after investigators claim he ran down a pedestrian and fled the consequences.
Thirty-five-year-old Daniel Sanchez Castillo was arraigned Tuesday on a felony charge of failing to stop at the scene of an accident causing death. The court also levied misdemeanors of operating without insurance and operating with a suspended, revoked or denied license.
He’s charged as a fourth-time habitual offender for past felonies — a classification that, at the court’s discretion, could net a life sentence.
Castillo turned himself in to downstate authorities earlier this month, according to Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department Undersheriff Mike Shea.
His record includes convictions in his Wayne County home for carrying a concealed weapon, aggravated assault, assault with a dangerous weapon, two instances of controlled substance possession, operating with a suspended license and unlawfully using a license plate in the past 15 years.
A trip to visit family brought Castillo from Detroit to Traverse City on that July 6 evening, according to Capt. Randy Fewless, and dim streetlights illuminated his drive along U.S. 31 North.
At the same time, investigators said 71-year-old Sham Sunder Suri stepped off the curb near Sugar Beach Resort, likely headed to a nearby shop or restaurant. He was in town for a similar reason — a vacation with family members from Ohio.
He never made it across.
Instead, Suri was struck by a Chevy Equinox whose driver left him in the road and pulled into a nearby parking lot. The driver ditched the car and ran from the scene after confrontations with several witnesses, Fewless previously told the Record-Eagle. Sheriff’s Department investigators place Castillo behind the wheel.
Suri died several hours later at Munson Medical Center.
Fewless said earlier this month that investigators believe drugs were involved. Castillo appeared for sentencing on drug possession charges in Wayne County just days after Suri’s death, court records show, and was out on bond the night of the crash.
Younger brother and co-defendant, Christopher Manuel Castillo II, gave him a ride from the scene that night, Fewless said.
The 23-year-old from Westland, sought on a felony warrant as an accessory after the fact, remains at large.
Arrest warrants for both brothers were issued Aug. 7.
Castillo was levied a $50,000 cash/surety bond at his Tuesday arraignment and remained in Grand Traverse County’s jail Friday afternoon.
He’ll next appear in court on Sept. 3 for a preliminary examination before 86th District Court Judge Robert Cooney.
See updates at www.record-eagle.com.