Mother Sues Alleged Drunk Driver Who Smashed into Michigan Birthday Party, Killing 2 Young Children

A judge on Tuesday ordered the suspected drunk driver who killed two children when she crashed into a birthday party at a Michigan boat dock held on a $1.5 million bond.

Meanwhile, 66-year-old Marshella Chidester’s attorney said his client suffered seizures in her legs and had only one glass of wine on Saturday, the day of the crash, The Monroe News reported.

Mariah Dodds, mother of 8-year-old Alanah Phillips and 4-year-old Zayn Phillips, filed a lawsuit Monday against Chidester and the tavern where she had been before the crash. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Dodds and her 11-year-old son, identified as JP in the suit.


They both remain hospitalized, JP with broken legs and ribs and a fractured skull.

“Can you imagine anything worse than that as a human being, as a parent?” said Jon Marko, one of Dodds’ attorneys.

Dodds and JP remain hospitalized. The boy has broken legs and ribs and and a fractured skull, and the mother has a broken shoulder and ribs, severe pelvic bruising, stitches in her lips, and a swollen eye.

Surveillance video shot outside Swan Boat Club in New Berlin Township, where the party was held, shows Chidester’s vehicle speeding across the parking area just before the crash. Here vehicle came to a stop 25 feet inside the building, as CrimeOnline reported.

Chidester is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death, and four counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injuries. She appeared in court on Tuesday with her right arm in a cast, the News reported.

Judge Christian Horkey agreed with the prosecution’s request for the $1.5 million bond after prosecutors said she had a history of “severe substance abuse,” reportedly corroborated by family and friends, who did not speak in court. Horkey ordered that if she does post bond, she must undergo alcohol testing and wear a GPS tether, and she would be prohibited from drinking or driving.

Family members of Dodds and the children interrupted multiple times during the hearing as Chidester’s attorney, Bill Colovos, laid his case for a lower bond. He said the high bond was akin to burning Chidester at the stake.

Dodds’ sister, Raquel Smouthers, told the court through tears how she told her sister about the childrens’ deaths.

“I had to be the one to tell my sister her babies were gone when they removed her ventilator yesterday,” Smouthers said. “She said, ‘How am I supposed to live without my babies?’”

Chidester is due in court again on April 30 for a probable cause conference and the next day for a preliminary examination.

Childester’s next court appearances are scheduled for a probable cause conference April 30 and a preliminary examination on May 6.

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