Warren man sentenced to life without parole for 2017 hit-and-run

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 30, 2019

 Tony Walker, of  Warren, seen at his preliminary exam in August 2017, was sentenced to life in prison April 17 for killing the driver of another car after running a red light and crashing  following a theft.

Tony Walker, of Warren, seen at his preliminary exam in August 2017, was sentenced to life in prison April 17 for killing the driver of another car after running a red light and crashing following a theft.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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ROSEVILLE — A 45-year-old Warren man has been convicted in connection with causing a deadly crash in Roseville in 2017 and fleeing the scene.

The defendant, Tony Walker, was convicted March 5 of one count of first-degree murder, one count of reckless driving causing death, one count of reckless driving causing serious impairment of body function and one count of reckless driving. He was sentenced April 17 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The case was initially heard in 39th District Court and was later bound over to the 16th Circuit Court.

According to court records, the incident took place on June 1, 2017, in the area of Masonic Boulevard and Kelly Road in Fraser. Witnesses saw someone enter a Fraser Department of Public Works trailer as a city crew was cutting grass nearby. That person reportedly removed two backpack-style leaf blowers from the trailer and took off in a nearby Jeep.

Although there was no indication that anyone was giving chase at the time, the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office said Walker drove away from the scene at a high speed and ran a red light, colliding with another vehicle at the intersection of Kelly Road and Masonic Boulevard. Walker then fled from the scene on foot.

Roseville investigators identified Walker as the driver of the Jeep and located him an hour after the crash; he was then taken into police custody. At least one witness at the scene of the crash identified Walker as the driver.

Roseville police also indicated that there was a second man in the Jeep at the time of the crash, a 49-year-old Oak Park man, who fled the scene on foot, but he did not face any charges.

A Warren man, 51-year-old Paul McKechnie Jr., was killed in the crash, while his parents, also Warren residents who were also in the other vehicle, were injured. They were transported to a hospital and were later released.

Roseville Police Detective Chris Kment said at Walker’s preliminary investigation that two leaf blowers with serial numbers matching those stolen from the Fraser Department of Public Works trailer were recovered in Walker’s vehicle.

Walker’s attorney, Paul Tylenda, said he accepts the outcome of the trial but believes state law does not allow for any flexibility in how a hit-and-run case like his client’s is judged. 

“On a conviction for felony murder, there’s nothing anyone can do. It’s a mandatory life sentence,” said Walker. “My qualms are with the way the felony muder rule is written and interpreted, which reflects the elasticity of the rule and the way crimes like this can be defined. The rule between the crime and the resulting death and how they are reflected through case law creates rules that juries are given. Are the facts of this case a murder case? No. It’s a tragedy all around. A lot of families have suffered and lost.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.

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