GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A driver who left a Grand Rapids hospital where he was being evaluated for injuries in a traffic accident pleaded no contest Monday to drunken driving causing death stemming from the mid-July crash that killed a motorcyclist.
Joseph Arnold Hileski, 37, entered his plea on the day his jury trial was to get underway in Kent County Circuit Court.
Hileski also entered a plea to being a habitual offender. The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to dismiss a second case charging him with obstructing a police officer. In that case, he's accused of leaving the hospital to avoid a search warrant for his blood.
A plea agreement calls for a sentence within a range of about five to 19 years in prison. Hileski returns to court for sentencing in mid-April.
The crash happened July 17, 2018 at Leonard Street and Wilson Avenue NW in Walker.
Police say Hileski was heading east on Leonard Street when he failed to stop at a red light and struck a motorcycle traveling north on Wilson. The rider, 35-year-old Jacob Eugene Craft of Walker, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hileski was taken to Mercy Health Saint Mary's Hospital in Grand Rapids for evaluation, but took off after being treated. He was arrested at a nearby bus stop. He was initially charged with obstruction for trying to dodge a search warrant for his blood.
Charges in the deadly crash were filed after a toxicology report showed an unlawful level of alcohol and marijuana in his system.
Hileski has a 2016 drug possession conviction in Kent County that put him behind bars. Other convictions include assault, aggravated stalking and possession of burglar tools.
Hileski was discharged from the Michigan Department of Corrections in December of 2017. He listed an address on Apple Blossom Drive NW, which is less than a half mile from where the deadly wreck occurred.
Hileski’s driver’s license has been suspended numerous times since 2001 for offenses ranging from drug crimes to failing to pay driver responsibility fees. His driving privileges were restored in October of 2017.
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