SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — A man accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a Van Buren County road worker has been formally charged.

Logan Brown of Hartford was arraigned in a South Haven courtroom Tuesday on charges of operating while intoxicated causing death, moving violation causing death in a work zone and operating a vehicle without proper insurance.

An undated photo of Rene Rangel.
An undated photo of Rene Rangel.

The charges stem from a March 3 crash on County Road 681 between 44th and 48th avenue northwest of Lawrence. Michigan State Police, which investigated the crash, said a driver ignored signs to stop for a construction zone, rear-ended another car and hit Van Buren County road worker Rene Rangel, who was manning a traffic control sign. Rangel, 58, of Dowagiac, was killed.

It took some time for lab tests to come back so MSP could finish its report. Brown was arrested Monday.

His bond was set at $350,000 cash or surety Tuesday and he was ordered not to have any contact with Rangel’s family. He’s expected back in court for a hearing May 17.

Rangel’s family was in the courtroom to see the arraignment. His sister Crystal Hodgemire says she misses her older brother every day.    

“I want to see him but I can’t,” Hodgemire said. “He was like our rock. I had another brother who died in a house fire and after he passed away, he stepped up and took all of us in and supported all of us when we needed support.”

The family says they are grateful charges have been brought even if it took two months to be filed.

“For me — and I think for the rest of my family — it brings us peace knowing because we’ve been waiting, so it gives us that comfort,” Hodgemire said.

Rangel’s colleagues at the road commission are also mourning the loss and wanting to remind everyone to be careful in construction zones.

“Rene woke up like all of us, wanting to serve his community. He did that at the road commission doing his job doing the best he can and never made it home and we have people out there every day who are out there risking their lives. I think people take it for granted,” said Bret Witkowski, the managing director.

The drunken driving and moving violations are both 15-year felonies. The insurance charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.