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Stony Creek crash survivor’s MIP charge to be dismissed, pending good behavior

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 11, 2016

 Defense attorney Neil Rockind speaks to his client, Joseph Narra, 18, of Shelby Township, at the 42-1 District Court in Romeo Feb. 11.

Defense attorney Neil Rockind speaks to his client, Joseph Narra, 18, of Shelby Township, at the 42-1 District Court in Romeo Feb. 11.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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On Feb. 11, 42-1 District Court Judge Denis LeDuc granted a motion to quash medical records obtained by law enforcement that indicated passenger Joseph Narra, 18, of Shelby Township, had a blood alcohol content of 0.03 at the time of a fatal May 8 car crash.

After a pretrial conference held between the defense and prosecuting attorneys — and a chambers meeting with LeDuc — both parties agreed that Narra would plead no contest to a minor in possession charge.

“That will be pursuant to HYTA (the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act). If there are no further violations prior to April 1, 2016, the people move to dismiss,” said prosecutor Christine Anderson, Washington Township’s municipal attorney.

Narra was one of five young men involved in a May 8 single-vehicle crash at Stony Creek Metropark. Three of the young men died in the crash, and passengers Narra and Gregory Bobchick survived with critical injuries. All five had alcohol in their systems, according to law enforcement.

Defense attorney Neil Rockind argued to suppress Narra’s medical records from Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, which police obtained with written consent from Narra’s mother, Karen Narra. The records revealed the blood alcohol content of 0.03.

At the time that Karen Narra gave written consent to her son’s medical records, Rockind said, his client had turned 18 and should have been the one to give consent.

Rockind argued that obtaining the medical records violated his client’s Fourth Amendment rights under the Constitution, which protect against unreasonable searches and seizures.

“I don’t believe the consent in this case meets those standards (of consent unequivocally, freely and intelligently given), so I am going to grant Mr. Rockind’s motion that any evidence obtained by way of consent is inadmissible,” LeDuc said.

Rockind said Narra pleaded no contest because of civil liability.

“I believe this is an appropriate case to be taken under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, so long as you abide by the terms and conditions,” LeDuc told Narra. “If everything goes well, (the MIP charge) will come off your record.”

Given that Narra was testing clean in his pretrial release program, LeDuc opted to move Narra's sentencing to Feb. 11.

LeDuc mandated that Narra pay $300 in fines and costs, undergo reporting probation, pick his friends carefully, not consume any alcohol or controlled substances, continue to live at his parents’ residence and follow all treatment prescribed by his doctors.

Rockind said his client was a better, more mature person today than he was at the time of the crash.

“He’s a decent, kind, caring, compassionate and loyal person,” Rockind said of Narra. “He lives every day with the lingering memory of being involved in a catastrophic accident that destroyed what otherwise would have been one of the highlights of his life prior to (high school) graduation.”

Karen Narra said her son is still under the care of doctors and that, once the doctors cleared him, he planned to enroll in community college courses in September. She said he still couldn’t feel his toes and part of his leg due to nerve damage.


Related: Judge to review Stony Creek crash survivor’s MIP in 6 months

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