ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — A Jimmy John’s delivery driver who had THC in her system the day she hit and killed a Wayland boy will avoid prison.
The boy was on his 7-year-old sister’s bicycle as he rode out of his family’s driveway and was hit by Collige’s Toyota Rav 4, relatives said.
According to police reports, Collige admitted to detectives she smoked “half a bowl” of marijuana about 11.5 hours before the crash at Windsor Woods Village manufactured home community, east of US-131.
In an Aug. 17 interview with police, Collige said she had just finished a delivery, drove around a parked vehicle and was returning to her driving lane when she hit the little boy. He died at the scene.
The police report states Collige told officers she thought she was traveling the community’s speed limit of 15 mph, but couldn’t stop in time to avoid the crash. However, detectives said evidence indicated she was traveling 27 to 32 mph at the time of the crash, and their tests showed her rear wheels “were not operating effectively.”
Police said Collige’s blood test after the crash was positive for active and metabolized THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana that gives users a high. Collige told police she uses marijuana daily, but purposely didn’t consume it close to the time she was scheduled to work.
As part of a plea deal in February, Collige pleaded no contest to attempted operating under the influence causing death. In return, authorities dropped a charge of operating under the influence causing death.
The victim’s father told 24 Hour News 8 Monday that he understood the plea agreement and sentence but wished that a harsher punishment would have been levied. He said he believed Collige was remorseful.
Neighbors living in the mobile home community where the tragedy happened said they don’t feel justice was served.
“It not only destroyed the poor family, but it destroyed the community around the family,” said Chris Beukema, who lives near the scene.
Jeremy Smeenge’s 8-year-old son Bryson was with Blake and witnessed the crash.
“The fact that there was drugs and speed and all these things involved,” Smeenge said. “What are the guidelines? What are the guidelines for a death?”
Julee Sabin said the driver who hit Blake had just delivered sandwiches to her home. She says she now deals with guilt for placing the order.
“They have to go the rest of their life without their child,” Sabin said. “And she has to go to jail for 11 months?”
Collige will be credited for the two days she’s already spent in jail. The judge also sentenced her to 60 months of probation.
Blakes family members are now working with attorneys and considering a lawsuit against Jimmy John’s.