BEULAH -- A Thompsonville man who caused a crash that killed Benzie Central High School teacher Katherine Wolterink allegedly was intoxicated at the time and likely will face criminal charges next week.
Benzie County Prosecutor Anthony Cicchelli is reviewing police reports on the wreck near Interlochen in which a vehicle driven by John Lee Burchett, 26, slammed head-on into Wolterink's vehicle as the teacher drove to work early Sept. 24.
Cicchelli received results of Burchett's blood-alcohol test Wednesday, and said he plans to file criminal charges by early next week.
He would not divulge the test results or the specifics of the investigation.
"There are a lot of possible charges, from drunken driving causing death to (driving while license suspended) charges," Cicchelli said, adding that Burchett's blood-alcohol level was "not shocking, but it's high."
"My main concern in contemplating charges is his physical health. I am not in the habit of charging someone who is in critical condition in the hospital," he said.
Burchett was thrown from his Jeep Cherokee when he crossed into Wolterink's lane and crashed into her car on Cinder Road.
Wolterink, 60, was trapped in her flaming vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Burchett was rushed to Munson Medical Center in critical condition, but hospital officials said Wednesday his condition had improved to serious.
Burchett has a long history of hazardous driving and his license had been revoked prior to the crash, something Cicchelli said will be considered when he's charged.
"It gives a prosecutor more charging options," he said. "Sometimes more serious charges can be levied against you because of prior convictions."
Burchett's driving history begins in 1998 and shows entries for two drunken driving convictions, open intoxicants, several crashes, speeding, disobeying traffic signals, following too close, driving on a suspended license, impeding traffic, giving false information to police, equipment violations, failing to yield and other infractions, according to the Secretary of State's office.
His license has been suspended or restricted more than a dozen times. He was released from prison in April after serving nearly four years for two counts of home invasion, records show.