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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jul 17, 2018 at 8:00 AM

7-year-old survives dad's drunk crash, killed by another car

ROMULUS (AP) — Police said a 7-year-old girl was struck and killed as she tried to get help after her father drunkenly crashed into an abandoned vehicle on an interstate in suburban Detroit.

State police spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw said DeSandra Thomas sent text messages to police about her father's crash before she was struck on I-94 near Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus early Sunday. She died instantly.

Shaw said a driver called state police to say she might have hit a pedestrian.

DeSandra's father was drunk when he got into his car at around 3:30 a.m., Shaw said, and that the girl died "because of a decision that an adult made."

The girl's mother, Sandria Burts, said she hopes DeSandra's father is not charged. She said losing their daughter is "torture enough."

Man who died after wounding trooper killed himself, autopsy shows

LAKE TWP. (AP) — Authorities said an autopsy determined a man who died after wounding a state trooper during a traffic stop and shootout in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula killed himself.

According to the Michigan State Police, a weekend autopsy found 32-year-old Douglas Robert Sawyer died Friday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police said the trooper had several gunshot wounds and has been released from the hospital.

The trooper pulled over a vehicle occupied by two men and a woman in Missaukee County's Lake Township. Police said Sawyer ran and fired at the trooper, who returned fire. The others stayed in the vehicle and were arrested.

Police said Sawyer was wanted as a parole absconder and on other warrants. He had prior arrests for home invasion, drug crimes and weapons violations.

4 of 5 teens take plea deal in fatal Michigan rock-throwing case

FLINT (AP) — Four Michigan teens charged with murder in a fatal rock-throwing incident have agreed to accept a lesser charge of manslaughter, an attorney said Monday.

The plea deal was disclosed in court, although no guilty pleas were immediately made. Attorney Jim Gust, who represents one of the four, said they're expected to spend some time in juvenile detention, not prison.

"None of the juveniles threw the rock that actually killed the man," Gust told The Associated Press. "Just young boys doing something stupid."

The boys, ages 15-17, were charged last fall with second-degree murder in the death of Kenneth White, who was in a van on I-75 when a rock crashed through the windshield. That rock and many others were thrown from an overpass in Genesee County.

A fifth defendant, Kyle Anger, 18, is accused of throwing the rock that struck the van. He wasn't in court Monday.

"No matter what time they get, it's not going to bring back my son," White's mother, Theresa Simpson, said outside court. "I'm going to put it in my own son's words, Kenneth Andrew White: 'It is what it is.' I have to accept what's going on."

Gust predicts the four teens will return to court in 30-60 days.

US, Michigan will try to settle lawsuit over prison guards

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has agreed to a 90-day timeout in a lawsuit that accuses the Michigan Corrections Department of violating the rights of female prison guards.

The U.S. Justice Department and the state will use the time to try to reach a settlement. Federal Judge Paul Borman signed the order Thursday.

The government sued in 2016, saying female guards were being forced to work overtime at the Huron Valley women's prison in Washtenaw County. The guards say it's also difficult to transfer because the Corrections Department won't let male guards fill certain jobs.

When the lawsuit was filed, the Justice Department said employers can't lock workers in or out of a job because of their sex.

The prison has many female guards because male guards years ago sexually assaulted prisoners.

Contractor pleads guilty in $5M airport bribery scheme

ROMULUS (AP) — A contractor has pleaded guilty to paying more than $5 million to a Detroit-area airport official who submitted inflated bills and got a share of the spoils.

Prosecutors say William Pritula's company was hired for road repair and water line work at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. It's one of the largest bribery cases in Michigan's Eastern District.

The government says the bribes and kickbacks went to James Warner, who until 2014 was infrastructure manager at the agency that runs the airport. Warner is facing charges of conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and obstruction of justice. He has pleaded not guilty.

Pritula, 69, pleaded guilty to bribery Monday. The government so far has seized $7.5 million from him and roughly $4 million from Warner.

Indiana man electrocuted while power-washing Michigan church

CASSOPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana man power-washing the exterior of a southwestern Michigan church has died after coming into contact with an electrical line.

The contracted employee was in a bucket lift Saturday afternoon outside St. Ann's Catholic Church in Cassopolis when he was electrocuted.

Police said the 65-year-old man was from Bremen, south of South Bend, Indiana. His name has not been released.

Cassopolis is just north of the state line with Indiana.

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