Woman charged in fatal crash is bound over to circuit court

By: Joshua Gordon | Shelby - Utica News | Published August 31, 2018

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A Sterling Heights woman charged in the death of a 23-year-old Shelby Township man as a result of a car crash in February had her case bound over to Macomb County Circuit Court on a second-degree murder charge.

Theresa Bieniewicz, 41, appeared in the 41-A District Court in Shelby Township Aug. 20 in front of Judge Douglas Shepherd. Along with the second-degree murder charge, Bieniewicz was also bound over on a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in death.

Second-degree murder can carry a sentence of up to life in prison.

At around 12:30 a.m. Feb. 5, police said, Bieniewicz was driving almost 90 mph in bad weather when she attempted to pass a police vehicle before hitting another vehicle head-on while she was in the opposite lane.

Shelby Township first responders attended to the crash on 21 Mile Road, near Milonas Drive, west of Hayes Road, where both drivers were trapped inside their vehicles. Adrian Ossowski, 23, of Shelby Township, was the driver of the other vehicle and was pronounced dead at Henry Ford Hospital.

Both cars were mangled from the collision, according to Shelby Township Fire Chief Jim Swinkowski, and it was an “extensive process” to get both drivers out. Charges were delayed as the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office awaited results of an autopsy and a crash reconstruction.

Assistant Prosecutor William Cataldo said Bieniewicz’s blood alcohol level was 0.12 about two and a half hours after the crash, so her likely level at the time of the crash was 0.17, which Cataldo said puts her in the “super drunk range.”

“Based on the elements of elevated speeds, the weather conditions, the road conditions, and a lack of effort to avoid the other vehicle while essentially in the wrong lane traveling almost 90 mph is why we sought the elevated charges,” Cataldo said. “She braked less than a second before impact and did not try to avoid a collision, which helped elevate it to second-degree murder.”

The crash was caught on the police patrol vehicle camera and was used during the Aug. 20 hearing.

Bieniewicz’s attorney, Joseph Arnone, did not return a request for comment by press time.

An arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 10 in front of Judge James Maceroni. Bieniewicz posted bond Aug. 21 under the conditions that she can have no contact with the victim’s family, cannot use drugs or alcohol, and she cannot drive.

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