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Man pleads guilty in snowmobile crash that injured brother

Becky Vargo • Aug 29, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Two days before he was scheduled to go on trial, a 22-year-old Conklin man pleaded guilty Monday in Ottawa County Circuit Court to charges related to a crash that critically injured his older brother.

Patrick Bernard Looks pleaded guilty to operating a snowmobile while intoxicated, causing an incapacitating injury.

Looks faces up to five years in prison and/or a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 when sentenced Oct. 2

Another brother, Phillip Paul Looks, was sentenced June 26 to one year of probation and two days in jail after pleading guilty to charges of operating a snowmobile under the influence and reckless operation of a snowmobile. His snowmobile driving privileges were also suspended for two years.

Their older brother, 26-year-old Michael Looks, suffered a head injury in the Feb. 4 incident. According to Patrick Looks’ attorney, Steven Simkins, Michael has fully recovered.

During testimony Monday, Simkins said that Michael Looks suffered a concussion and skull fractures. He was in a coma for a day, but his speech and movement of arms and legs eventually came back.

Patrick Looks said he consumed a couple of beers prior to the incident, but when questioned by Judge Karen Miedema, he admitted to having about six beers throughout the day. 

Simkins said that Patrick’s blood alcohol level was still below 0.08, which is the legal limit for drunk driving in Michigan.

Patrick said they were riding snowmobiles on the family property in Wright Township when Michael, a Sparta resident, fell off the snowmobile operated by Phillip. According to police, an ambulance transported Michael to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids following the 7:54 p.m. incident in the 18700 block of 40th Avenue.

Michael was a passenger on a snowmobile being operated by a 25-year-old Coopersville man, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. The driver made a sharp turn, ejecting Michael. The snowmobile following them, driven by Patrick, was unable to avoid striking the fallen man.

A ski from the snowmobile struck Michael in the head, police said. He was not wearing a helmet.

Both Phillip and Patrick were arrested and lodged in the Ottawa County Jail.

Patrick said his brother was hospitalized for a week before spending another week at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. He then recovered at home.

A benefit event to help pay expenses for Michael and his family took place in April.

 

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