Woman charged with murder in crash that killed MSP trooper

Ionia County

IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — The woman accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a Michigan State Police trooper will face a murder charge, police say.

Thomasina Shani Jones, 28, of Montezuma Creek, Utah, was arrested Monday morning at an Ionia home, MSP says. A source told News 8 that Jones asked the arresting trooper why he was being so nice to her.

“Because that’s what Trooper Starr would have done,” the trooper replied.

Jones was arraigned in Ionia County Monday afternoon on four criminal charges: second-degree murder, operating with a high blood alcohol content level causing death with a prior conviction, operating while her license was suspended, revoked or denied causing death, and operating while intoxicated.

Citing Ionia County Prosecutor Kyle Butler, the Associated Press reports that Jones’ BAC at the time of the crash was .23, nearly three times Michigan’s legal limit for driving of .08.

“The likely sentence in this case is going to be extreme,” Butler said, according to the AP.

Bond was denied.

The crash happened the night of July 10 on Grand River Avenue west of Nash Highway in Boston Township, near Saranac.

Authorities say the woman’s car crossed the centerline and collided head-on with the Trooper Caleb Starr’s cruiser. Both the woman and Starr were injured.

Starr had to be freed from his cruiser and was airlifted to a Grand Rapids hospital, where he remained for three weeks.

A Michigan State Police cruiser (left) and a jeep (right) that were involved in a two-vehicle crash in Ionia County’s Boston Township on July 10, 2020. (Photos courtesy: Michigan State Police)

He died Friday at the age of 33.

On Saturday, a procession accompanied his body down I-96 to a funeral home in Lansing. Funeral arrangements are still pending, MSP said Monday.

Starr had been with MSP for about two years and worked out of the Lakeview Post. A GoFundMe account has been created to support his wife and two daughters.

A courtesy photo of Caleb Starr.
A courtesy photo of Caleb Starr.

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