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Teen charged in deadly crash of Flint officer

A 16-year-old from Montrose has been charged in a crash that took the life of a Flint police officer, according to Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 11:47 AM EDT
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GENESEE CO., Mich. (WNEM) - A 16-year-old from Montrose has been charged in a crash that took the life of a Flint police officer, according to Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.

The teen has been charged with two felonies including manslaughter with a motor vehicle and reckless driving causing death. Both felonies carry a maximum possible penalty of 15 years in prison. The charges stem from the Feb. 4 crash that killed Flint Police Capt. Collin Birnie.

Leyton filed a petition in the Genesee County Family Court requesting the teen be designated as an adult for trial.

According to the investigation, the accused teen was driving a Chevrolet Traverse south on N. Elms Road near Mt. Morris Road in Mt. Morris Township when he tried to pass several vehicles at a high rate of speed.

As the teen was passing vehicles, his vehicle began to sway and he lost control and crossed back into the northbound lane, striking a Chevrolet Tahoe that was driven by Birnie, who was on duty at the time, Leyton said.

Birnie was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“We took the facts, we applied the law, we analyzed, and that led to these charges,” Leyton said. “I think that we give young people the privilege of driving a car. And with that privilege comes great responsibility. And I think it’s important to know that that responsibility we allege has been breached. We intend to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these crimes were committed.”

Leyton provided details as to why he believes the 16-year-old should be convicted of the criminal charges he’s facing.

“The young man was exceeding the speed limit, was driving on very poor conditioned roads because it had just snowed. Was passing, weaving in and out of cars, ultimately lost control of his car, crossed over the center line and crashed into the vehicle being driven by Captain Birnie,” Leyton said.

Leyton is quick to point out facts, not feelings, led to the criminal charges against the 16-year-old.

“It’s no secret that many of us knew Captain Birnie and were fond of him. But justice is our goal and we would have charged this case the same had the victim been an anonymous individual to us,” Leyton said. “I have met with captain Birnie’s family and they are comfortable with the decisions I have made.”