Burrows, 41, was charged with reckless driving causing death and reckless driving causing serious injury after striking a vehicle with his pickup truck at 12:20 p.m. Jan. 3.
The driver of the vehicle that Burrows hit, 65-year-old Sandra Kay DeBoer of Zeeland, was pronounced dead at the scene. DeBoer’s 10-year-old grandson, Gavin DeBoer, was seriously injured but remained conscious in the crash.
Burrows entered the pleas on Monday in front of Judge Jon Hulsing, one day ahead of his scheduled jury trial.
A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as such in determining a defendant’s sentencing.
The crash took place at the intersection of eastbound I-196 Business Loop and 104th Avenue in Holland Township. According to the police report, Burrows was traveling on I-196 and ran a red light at the intersection. DeBoer was traveling north on 104th and had a green light when she was struck by Burrows’ pickup.
Upon arrival, police found Burrows with his feet still inside his Chevrolet pickup truck with his upper body laying outside the open passenger door of the vehicle. A witness said Burrows was traveling at 70 mph. The speed limit in I-196 Business Loop is 55 mph.
Burrows was not using his cellphone at the time of the incident, nor were there any indications that alcohol was a factor in the crash.
According to the toxicology report obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, Burrows had alprazolam and amphetamine in his blood at the time of the crash. Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety and amphetamine is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, this does not necessarily mean that drugs were a factor in the crash.
“There is no legal threshold for your system like alcohol,” explained Capt. Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s not as simple as drunk driving.”
Because there were no charges relating to drug use, Bennett said the Sheriff’s Office’s initial assumption that drugs were a factor in the crash may not have been correct.
“That indicates to me that the prosecutor didn’t think it was chargeable,” Bennett said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that the drugs didn’t happen, but they didn’t think it was chargeable in court.”
Burrows is scheduled to be sentenced by Hulsing at the 20th Circuit Court in Grand Haven on Nov. 20.
Reckless driving causing death is a felony charge punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a $2,500 to $10,000 fine. Reckless driving causing serious injury is also a felony, punishable by up to five years of prison and/or a fine of $1,000 to $5,000. Burrows is a fourth-offense habitual offender, which means the maximum sentences for these charges could be doubled.
Burrows’ criminal history includes driving while his license was suspended in May, second-degree retail fraud in September, several retail fraud charges from 2016 and 2015, along with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Midland in 2006, and breaking and entering in Cheboygan in 1994.