EAST TAWAS – Mark David Elliott, 63, East Tawas, is facing one misdemeanor count of a moving violation causing death. If convicted as charged, he could be sentenced to one year in jail and/or costs of $2,000.
While driving a pickup truck in East Tawas this past August, Elliott allegedly struck Dohnovan Xzavier-Lloyd Newcome, 16, Oscoda, who was riding his bike. The teen was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Elliott’s arraignment in Iosco County’s 81st District Court has been set for Wednesday, Feb. 17.
A warrant for his arrest was authorized on Jan. 25 by Alcona County Prosecuting Attorney Thomas J. Weichel.
According to Iosco County Courthouse staff, Elliott posted a $500 cash bond for his release. It was an interim bond set on the warrant before being seen by court, which is standard practice for non-assaultive misdemeanor warrants.
As stated in court records, the incident occurred at 3:41 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2020, at the intersection of US-23 and Tawas Beach Road.
The Michigan State Police (MSP) were dispatched to the scene, where they say they observed Elliott’s truck on the right-hand side of Tawas Beach Road, parked in a parking lot entrance.
While approaching the vehicle, the responding trooper states that there was a bicycle underneath the truck, as well as the bicyclist.
In speaking with Elliott, police claim he stated that while driving north on East Bay Street (US-23), he had a green light and made a right-hand turn onto Tawas Beach Road. When he turned, he felt a bump. Elliott allegedly explained that he thought he hit the curb, and was going to continue to drive.
According to police, Elliott said he heard a person yelling that he was dragging someone. He stopped and exited his vehicle, which is when he realized that he had hit someone.
A witness advised that he was the second vehicle at the red light, on Tawas Beach Road, waiting to turn left onto US-23 when a bicyclist began to cross in the crosswalk.
The witness says that the first driver at the red light backed up his vehicle a short distance, to make room for the bicyclist.
The witness told authorities that the teen was on the north side of the crosswalk, heading south along US-23, and that the cyclist had the right-of-way.
Additionally, the crosswalk sign was white, letting Newcome know that he could cross. The witness notes that, while he was in the crosswalk, Newcome looked over his shoulder to thank the driver who had made room for him, and was then hit by the truck.
The witness also told police that, as Newcome was crossing, he was in between the two white lines of the crosswalk.
The Dodge Ram operated by Elliott was allegedly driving at a low speed while making the turn onto Tawas Beach Road.
The witness claims that the driver stopped his vehicle and started to drive approximately three times.
The witness states that he yelled to the driver, “You’re dragging him, you’re dragging him,” after which the truck stopped, Elliott exited and he realized that he had hit someone.
Another witness, who was a passenger in a vehicle on Tawas Beach Road at the time, corroborated the first individual’s account of the events.
When police asked if Newcome was in between the two white lines of the crosswalk or in the roadway, the second witness said that with 100 percent certainty, the cyclist was in between the two lines.
The witness alleges that when the young man was hit, he was not ejected off his bike, nor did he strike his head when he hit the ground. The witness claims that the cyclist put his hands up while he was on the ground in a defensive manner, because the truck allegedly continued driving forward.
As previously reported, the MSP received the medical examiner’s findings for this incident on Nov. 12, 2020, and the police were then able to complete their report. The packet was sent to the Iosco County Courthouse, along with a warrant request.
Following this, Iosco County Prosecuting Attorney James Bacarella advised he had requested that the state Attorney General’s office assign an independent prosecutor to handle the case.
He explained 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.”
It was on Dec. 22, 2020, when Bacarella says his office was informed that Weichel had been appointed to prosecute this matter.
According to local courthouse staff, while a different prosecutor has been brought on, all of Elliott’s hearings will be held in Iosco County.