by RANDY R. COTTON A sentencing hearing in the case of People vs. Todd Michael Benoit took place Thursday, April 22 in a courtroom filled with emotion and tears in the 61st District Court of Grand Rapids before Judge Dennis Lieber. According to Kent County court records, the 36-year-old Rockford resident was charged with one count of operating while intoxicated (OWI) last December in the 63rd District Court and was released on a personal recognizance bond of $50,000. A fatal accident occurred at about 10:25 p.m. on Saturday, October 3, 2009, when Benoit was driving a red jeep northbound on White Creek Avenue before pulling into the path of a westbound pickup that had a flashing yellow light, according to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent. Derrick Mitchell “Ricky” Holstege of Wyoming, who was Benoit’s 19-year-old biological son, later died at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids. Holstege was a 2008 graduate of Covenant Christian High School and had plans to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. He also liked to sing and was a member of the Calvin College Oratory Society. The driver of the other vehicle, a 33-year-old Howard City man, was not injured. An agreement between the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office and Benoit’s defense team was reached when Benoit agreed to plead guilty to the 15-year felony. Paul McDonagh, the Grand Rapids-area defense attorney who represented Benoit, approached the podium and argued, “I have reviewed the pre-sentencing report and current psychological report from the Department of Corrections and have no additions or deletions. I recommend that my client continue to receive Hope Network services to help highlight some of the stressors that Todd has faced throughout this horrible tragedy and that he continue some form of mental health services.” Leonard Holstege, the stepfather of the deceased, told the court during a crime victimization and impact statement, “I want to thank the court for giving us the opportunity to describe the impact this has had on two families.” As he sat in the witness stand, Holstege told the court, “Todd was not there to give encouragement when Ricky was sad. He was not there when Ricky did not make the basketball team.” According to Holstege, “October third was a good day for me and […]
Todd Michael Benoit
A Rockford man pled guilty last week in the accident that caused his son’s death. According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, Todd Michael Benoit, 35, was heading northbound on White Creek Avenue in a red jeep, about 10:25 p.m. October 3, and had stopped at the stop sign at 17 Mile before pulling out into the intersection in front of a westbound, full-size Dodge pickup truck. The Jeep was struck in the front passenger’s door. Benoit’s son, Derrick Mitchell Holstege, 19 of Wyoming, was a front seat passenger in the Jeep and died in the crash. Benoit was arraigned in 63rd District Court on Friday, December 4, on a charge of OWI (Operating while intoxicated), a 15-year felony. He will be sentenced on April 29 in 17th Circuit Court at 2 p.m.
The Rockford man who caused a fatal accident at the corner of White Creek Avenue and 17 Mile Road in October has been charged in the crash. According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, Todd Michael Benoit, 35, was heading northbound on White Creek Avenue in a red jeep about 10:25 p.m. on October 3 and had stopped before pulling out into the intersection in front of a westbound, full-size Dodge pickup truck. The Jeep was struck in the front passenger’s door. Benoit’s son, Derrick Mitchell Holstege, 19, of Wyoming was a front-seat passenger in the Jeep and died in the crash. Toxicology reports obtained from both the hospital and Michigan State Police lab confirmed Benoit’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit. Benoit was arraigned in 63rd District Court on Friday, Dec. 4, on a charge of OWI (operating while intoxicated), a 15-year felony. He was released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond, and a preliminary court date was set December 16 at 11 a.m.
by JUDY REED A drunk-driving related accident in Solon Township claimed the life of a Wyoming man Saturday night. According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, the crash occurred at the intersection of White Creek Avenue and 17 Mile Road about 10:25 p.m. Saturday, October 4. According to a witness, a red Jeep driven by Todd Michael Benoit, 35, of Rockford, was heading northbound on White Creek Avenue, and had stopped before pulling out into the intersection in front of a westbound, full-size Dodge pickup truck. The Jeep was struck in the front passenger’s door. Cedar Springs and Solon Township fire and rescue responded to the scene, and used the Jaws of Life to extricate the passenger in the Jeep, Derrick Mitchell Holstege, 19, of Wyoming. Paramedics performed CPR on the young man, before sending him to Butterworth Hospital, where he later died. Benoit, who is reportedly the teen’s father. was also sent to the hospital by Rockford Ambulance, in critical condition. Parent said that alcohol appears to have been a contributing factor on the part of Benoit. At that time of night, the light flashes red for north-south traffic on White Creek and flashes yellow for east-west traffic on 17 Mile Road. Parent said that the witness told him the northbound Jeep stopped, and then he (southbound witness) stopped, and then the Jeep proceeded into the intersection. “He (Benoit) may have thought it was his turn to go, and not have realized that there was a flashing yellow the other way,” said Parent. “But alcohol was also a factor.” The driver of the pickup, a 33-year-old man from Howard City, was not injured. “Due to the seriousness of the crash, he voluntarily submitted to a preliminary breath test,” explained Parent. “The results were negative for alcohol.” The accident remains under investigation at this time.