Authorities: Man charged with murder in crash had BAC of .167

Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A man charged with two counts of murder was drunk and speeding when he caused a fatal crash near Schoolcraft in May, authorities allege.

Ezra Phillips, 27, of Saginaw, was arraigned Wednesday on two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of operating under the influence of while impaired by liquor causing death and two counts of driving on a suspended, revoked or denied license causing death.

A July 2021 booking photo of Ezra Phillips.

The charges stem from the May 7 crash on US-131 at W Y Avenue in Schoolcraft Township. Michigan State Police said Phillips’ SUV broadsided a sedan, killing 83-year-old Joel Shaffer and 84-year-old Delores Shaffer of Schoolcraft.

In court Wednesday, the judge said Phillips is accused of driving 115 mph in a 55 mph zone before the crash and that his pickup was going 84 mph at impact with the Shaffer’s car. Phillips’ blood alcohol content was .167, investigators say. That’s more than twice the legal limit of .08.

Phillips’ next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 4.

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