IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — Prosecutors say a woman had a sedative in her system that had not been prescribed to her when she hit and killed two bicyclists in a July crash. She has been charged with murder and is being held without bond.
A judge decided to revoke Mandy Marie Benn’s bond, which had been set at $100,000 on Aug. 12, after hearing several new pieces of evidence in court.
On Thursday, the prosecution said evidence from a lab in Pennsylvania showed that Benn had a prescription medication called Lorazepam, a sedative, in her system at the time of the crash. The medicine had not been prescribed to her.
There is also video evidence of Benn pulling into a gas station on M-21 moments before the crash, according to the prosecution. An attorney said the video shows her pulling her car into the wrong side of the pump and “awkwardly” tried to fit the pump into her car. A bystander and the clerk at the station witnessed this and commented that she seemed under the influence of drugs, the attorney said.
Prosecutors say Benn sent Facebook Messenger voice memos to people just moments before the crash that expressed suicidal thoughts. In those recordings, there was “obvious impairment in her voice,” according to prosecutors.
This evidence was presented to the judge in request to deny pretrial release. Benn’s bond was revoked. She will be released for medical appointments if the Ionia County sheriff agrees.
Benn has been charged with 15 counts, most recently second-degree murder and possessing prescription drugs. She also faces counts of operating while intoxicated causing death or serious injury and reckless driving causing death or serious impairment.
Benn pleaded not guilty on Aug. 1 to the prior charges. She has not yet been arraigned on the murder charges or the possession of prescription drugs, the Ionia County prosecutor said.
The charges stem from a crash that happened on July 30 around 11:15 a.m. in the 3000 block of Stage Road in Ronald Township. Benn was driving northbound behind a UPS truck, the sheriff’s office said. It said when the UPS truck started slowing down to stop, Benn passed it in the southbound lane, driving into the path of bicyclists that were participating in a bicycle tour with Make-A-Wish, called Wish-A-Mile.
Deputies say it appears Benn did not see the bicyclists before she hit them. They say it happened on a straight roadway with nothing obstructing the line of vision.
Two cyclists, Edward Erickson, 48, of Ann Arbor, and Michael Salhaney, 57, of Bloomfield Hills, were killed in the crash. Two of the injured cyclists were treated at the hospital and released. Another was in serious but stable condition and was expected to recover as of Aug. 1.