Man charged in deadly wreck may have been distracted by cell phone

Deadly distracted driving charges

CEDAR SPRINGS, MICH. - A motorist investigators say ran a stop sign near Cedar Springs, causing an accident that killed a Greenville area man, has been charged with reckless driving causing death.

Phillip Allen Garcia may have been on his phone when he ran a stop sign on Myers Lake Avenue NE about three miles east of Cedar Springs, court records show. His vehicle was traveling above the posted speed limit just prior to impact.

Garcia, 19, will be in 63rd District Court Friday for a probable cause hearing on a charge of reckless driving causing death. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

The accident happened in Kent County’s Nelson Township. Investigators say Garcia was driving south on Myers Lake Avenue when he ran a stop sign at 18 Mile Road, striking an eastbound Chevrolet Impala driven by Edward Allen Czarnecki.

Czarnecki, 59, 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 cell phone 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.

An airbag sensor indicated the car was traveling at 73 mph five seconds prior to the crash, Postma wrote.

Garcia, who lives in Sand Lake, is free on bond.

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