EAST TAWAS – Iosco County Prosecutor James Bacarella has requested that the Michigan Attorney General’s office assign an independent prosecutor to handle a case involving a fatal crash, which occurred on Aug. 31 in East Tawas.
As previously reported, Dohnovan Xzavier-Lloyd Newcome, 16, Oscoda, was killed while riding his bike, when he was hit by pickup truck at the intersection of US-23 and Tawas Beach Road.
According to Trooper John Walsh of the Michigan State Police (MSP) West Branch Post, he received the medical examiner findings on Nov. 12 and was able to complete the report. The packet was sent to the Iosco County Courthouse, along with a warrant request.
This reporter inquired as to what charges were potentially being sought but, at that point, the report simply indicated that the paperwork and other documentation was submitted to the county prosecutor for warrant review.
Since then, an update was sought from Bacarella as to whether his office had authorized any charges against the driver of the vehicle which struck Newcome. If this individual has not, in fact, been arraigned on any charges, Bacarella was asked if there is any information which he can provide regarding this case.
He answered that because he is a client of the suspect’s business, he felt that there was no way he could handle the case without the appearance of impropriety.
“I gave this case a lot of thought both prior to and after I received the report,” Bacarella stated. “I believe that the parties involved deserve to know that this matter was handled by an independent prosecutor who has no direct ties with any of the individuals involved in the case. As a result of that decision, I have turned the matter over to the attorney general’s office and requested they assign an independent prosecutor to the matter.”
As of press time, he not received notification from them regarding this assignment.
When asked if he could confirm the suspect’s name, Bacarella said he could not at this point.
“Our policy prevents us from releasing information prior to charges being issued,” he explained. “Also, since it is not my case, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to release information.”
He added that, once a prosecutor has been assigned, he will advise this publication as to who has accepted the assignment.
As has been reported, the crash took place at about 3:30 p.m. Preliminary investigation at that time, according to the MSP, indicated that Newcome – an Oscoda High School student – was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk. As he was crossing the roadway, in the crosswalk, a 62-year-old man from East Tawas was driving north in a Dodge Ram pickup truck. He turned right onto Tawas Beach Road and struck Newcome, who was pronounced dead on scene.
When seeking any new details, authorities noted in late October that investigators were waiting for the completion of the medical examiner’s report. “Once complete, all reports will be forwarded to the Iosco County Prosecutor for review of possible criminal charges,” MSP West Branch Post Commander, F/Lt. Christopher Luty, stated at the time. “Until the Iosco County Prosecutor performs his review, additional information cannot be released.”
Along with the medical examiner’s information, the MSP also had to wait for the traffic crash reconstructionist report, before turning the investigation over for warrant consideration.