Court hearing held for woman charged in deadly boat club crash

Posted at 4:44 PM, April 30, 2024

MONROE, Mich. (Scripps News Detroit/Court TV) — Marshella Chidester, the woman charged in the Michigan boat club crash that killed two kids and injured many others, had a probable cause hearing earlier today.

Her preliminary examination is scheduled to begin June 27.


This booking photo provided by the Monroe County, Mich., Sheriff’s Office shows Marshella Chidester. (Monroe County Sheriff’s Office)

Last week, Chidester, 66, was charged with 8 different crimes, including two counts of second-degree murder. She was given a $1.5 million bond and was released after posting bond.

Chidester crashed into the boat club on Saturday, April 20 as it was hosting a child’s birthday party. According to the sheriff’s office, two siblings, 8-year-old Alanah Phillips and 4-year-old Zayn Phillips, were pronounced dead at the scene.

READ MORE: Woman charged with murder in crash that killed two young siblings

Ten other people, including Alanah and Zayn’s mother, were injured in the crash and hospitalized. One of the victims suffered minor injuries and sought treatment on his own. The other nine victims’ conditions varied from minor injuries to critical condition.

Chidester was arraigned last week on eight charges, including two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of OWI causing death and four counts of OWI causing serious injury.

During the arraignment, emotions ran high as the judge allowed friends and family members of the victims to speak.

In this undated photo released by legal counsel, Mariah Dodds and her three children pose for a photo. Dodds and her children were attending a birthday party for another child at the Swan Boat Club on April 20, 2024. In the afternoon, Marshella Chidestar crashed her SUV through the wall of the club. Two of the children were killed and the third severely injured as well as Mariah. (Marko Law via Scripps News Detroit/AP)

The prosecution asked for a $1.5 million bond and said that they have substantial evidence in the case and that the suspect had a substance abuse issue.

WATCH: Deadly Birthday Party Crash: Should Family Have Spoken at Arraignment?

In arguing against the high bond, Chidester’s attorney, Bill Colovos, said that Chidester has never had any traffic citations and that Chidester has a history of having seizures since last November, saying that it was an “epileptic-type seizure in her legs.”

The arraignment was interrupted several times on Zoom by people watching.

“I had to see my deceased niece and nephew. I had to see their very last moment before her car was removed,” Alanah and Zayn’s aunt Raquel Smothers said. “I had to be the one to tell my sister her babies were gone when they removed her ventilator yesterday. She said ‘How am I supposed to live without my babies?’”

This story was originally published by Scripps News Detroit, an E.W. Scripps Company.

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