GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A motorist investigators say ran a stop sign near Cedar Springs, causing an accident that killed a Greenville area man, was sentenced Monday to 270 days in the Kent County Jail and placed on probation for five years.
Phillip Allen Garcia of Sand Lake earlier pleaded no contest to reckless driving causing death for the May 13 crash in Kent County’s Nelson Township. The collision killed 59-year-old Edward Allen Czarnecki.
In addition to jail and probation, Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Quist ordered Garcia to pay $4,472 in restitution.
Investigators say Garcia, who was 18 at the time, may have been on his cellphone prior to the crash. An airbag sensor indicated the car was traveling at 73 miles per hour five seconds prior to impact, court records show.
“It looked like he was using the cellphone before the accident, but it’s not crystal clear that he was using his phone at the time of the crash,’’ defense attorney Peter Walsh said. “This young man has no prior record, there were no drugs or alcohol involved. It was a tragic accident.’’
Investigators say Garcia was driving south on Myers Lake Avenue NE when he ran a stop sign at 18 Mile Road, striking an eastbound Chevrolet Impala driven by Czarnecki.
Czarnecki, of Oakfield Township, had the right-of-way. The U.S. Army veteran was pronounced dead at the scene of the 11:30 a.m. crash.
Garcia, who was driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, suffered minor injuries.
“Phillip’s cellphone was examined and it was being used around the time of the crash,’’ Kent County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Postma wrote in a probable cause affidavit.
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