'I wish I had died,' says driver in crash that killed 5

Matthew Jordan Carrier said all he remembers about the May crash that left five dead is waking up “in a field” with leg pain.

Carrier, who is being held without bond in the Livingston County Jail on five counts of second-degree murder and more than a dozen other charges, said he is overwhelmed by the impact of his actions and he wants the victims’ families to know he is sorry.

“I never meant to do what I did to those people,” he said Friday. “I can’t imagine how they feel. I know how I feel and I feel terrible. I would love to take it all back, but I can’t. …

“It was an accident,” the Fenton man said as he used the sleeves of his jail-issued uniform to wipe tears. “I wish I had died.”

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Killed in the May 9 two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Argentine Road and M-59 in Oceola Township were Carrier’s passengers: Justin Andrew-Humberto Henderson, 18, and Preston Tyler Wetzel, 24, both of Fenton, and passengers in the second vehicle, Candice Lynn Dunn, 35, of Oakland County; her mother Linda K. Hurley, 69, of Macomb County; and her mother’s boyfriend, Jerome Joseph Tortomasi, 73, also of Macomb County.

Troubled past

As a child, Carrier, 21, believed he would be “someone who made people laugh” and that he would act.

Those dreams faded, however, as Carrier started drinking alcohol. He said that led to stealing and homelessness.

Carrier has convictions for minor in possession of alcohol and operating a vehicle while impaired. Secretary of State records also show he drove without a valid license and his license was eventually suspended due to unpaid traffic tickets and because “he had an unsatisfactory driving record while on probation as a new driver,” an SOS spokesman said in May.

Carrier said he felt he was turning his life around, including having a daughter, now 2, and working at a job pouring concrete. He said he helped another friend, Kyle Eugene Lixie, who was a passenger in the car that fatal night, get a job at the same concrete company.

Carrier also said he felt “I could drink without it being a problem.”

On May 9, Carrier said, he decided to “hang out with friends” in the evening, so he met up with Henderson and, together, they picked up Lixie. At some point, Wetzel joined the group.

Carrier said they met a friend at a Fenton-area park and followed that friend to a Livingston County home to attend a party where he recalls consuming “most” of a fifth of Smirnoff vodka.

When it was time to leave, Carrier said Henderson walked to the passenger side of his 2002 Subaru while Wetzel and Lixie climbed into the back seat.

Carrier said he felt Henderson was indicating to him that he was too drunk to drive and Carrier felt he was less drunk than his friend so he sat behind the steering wheel.

Carrier said he remembers looking at Henderson, who pulled the car keys out of his pants pocket, put the key in the ignition and started the car. He remembers turning on a map app on his cell phone to guide him out of the unfamiliar area.

“I reversed it and went into the road,” Carrier said.

The crash

From there, Carrier’s memory is fuzzy.

Police said Carrier was driving south on Argentine Road when he failed to stop at the stop sign at the M-59 intersection and struck a Cadillac CTS that was traveling east on M-59.

On Friday, Carrier said he learned from the prosecutor at his July arraignment that his speed was approaching 100 mph.

At that hearing, Prosecutor William Vailliencourt said before the crash Carrier was questioned “about whether he was too drunk to drive and was told not to drive, but he acknowledged driving and continued to do so.”

Carrier denied that anyone warned him about being too drunk to drive.

“I didn’t keep track,” he said about how much alcohol he consumed that night. “I felt I was OK. ... I never felt that drunk."

Vailliencourt said Carrier's blood-alcohol content was "well in excess of the legal limit," which is 0.08. He declined to more specific.

Carrier said he has learned his BAC was 0.18 that fatal night.

Carrier said he does not remember seeing a stop sign nor does he remember the impact of the Subaru, which belonged to Henderson, crashing into the Cadillac. He only remembers waking up in a field and yelling about his injured leg.

He did not know that his friends or three people in the other vehicle were dead.

Carrier said no one would tell him what happened when he was in the hospital. He remembers the police questioning him. They wanted to know who else was in his car. Eventually, he learned that five people died.

“(The) police officer … told me I might be going to prison and that people didn’t make it,” Carrier said.

Arraignment

Carrier was arraigned in July in a 19-count felony complaint alleging second-degree murder, operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death and driving on a suspended license causing death. He returns to court Aug. 23.

Carrier is also charged with two counts each of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury and driving on a suspended license causing serious injury in connection with the May 9 crash. His license had been suspended indefinitely on Sept. 28, 2016.

“I don’t want people to think I’m a bad person,” he said. “But, I don’t think I’m a particularly good one. I don’t think I’m a good friend either. I was trying to be a good friend that night. …

“I could have found a different way for us to get home,” Carrier said. “I think it would be fair if I went to prison for everything I did. ... I just think they should know that everybody makes mistakes." 

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© 2017 Livingston Daily


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