Drunken driver’s mom jailed for laughing as fatal crash victim’s family speaks in court

Published: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 1:01 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 1:01 PM

Mother Of Drunken Driver Jailed For Laughing In Court

A Michigan judge last week jailed the mother of a drunken driver for laughing as the victim’s grieving family spoke about the impact his death has had on their lives.

Amanda Marie Kosal, 26, of Redford Township, cried quietly in Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard’s courtroom on Thursday, as she listened to Jerome Zirker’s sister talk about her brother, who Kosal killed in a drunken driving crash last June.

Kosal’s mother, Donna Kosal, and an unidentified man with her smiled and laughed as they sat in the back of the courtroom, according to WDIV Local 4 News in Detroit. Lillard, who heard their laughter, paused the Zirker family’s victim impact statements to address the behavior.

“It's time for him to go,” Lillard said during the dressing down, which was recorded by the news station and posted to its Facebook page. “And I don't know who he is, but whoever can sit here at a tragic moment like this and laugh and smile when somebody has lost a family member…. In the entire time that Mr. Zirker's sister was speaking, that clown -- and that's what I am going to call him, a clown -- was sitting there smiling and laughing.”

She then addressed Donna Kosal.

“And you can go, too. Because if you don't know how to act, you can go to jail,” Lillard said. “So leave. Anybody that can sit there and laugh and smirk….”

She tells a court officer to “take her, she’s going in the back.”

“Anybody else want to go?” Lillard asked the other people in the courtroom supporting Amanda Kosal. “You can go, too. This is a court of law. And these are very serious matters. I understand that you all are very upset because your loved one is going to prison, but guess what? She's going to prison for the choices that she made. These people are here, grieving, saddened because a senseless act took away their loved one, and you all are sitting around here like it's a joke?”

“Not in courtroom 502. Not today and not any other day.”

 

VIDEO: Judge removes 2 people, calls them clowns during local woman's sentencing for deadly DUI crash: http://bit.ly/2lzukSI

Posted by WDIV Local 4 / ClickOnDetroit on Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lillard told Donna Kosal she was going to jail for 93 days for criminal contempt as a court officer escorted her out.

The judge’s Facebook page was inundated with praise and support after news of her actions went public. She thanked people for visiting the page and expressing their feelings and assured them that, although she could not respond to each person individually, she had read all of their comments.  

“I am honored to have the privilege of serving the citizens of Wayne County,” Lillard wrote.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit this page to express your feelings. I am honored to have the...

Posted by Judge Qiana Denise Lillard on Saturday, February 25, 2017

WDIV reported that a tearful Donna Kosal apologized at a hearing before Lillard the following morning.

“I deeply apologize for what I did,” Donna Kosal said, according to the news station. “I was under a lot of stress.”

The judge amended her sentence to one day, with time served, and ordered that she be released from jail.

“What you have to understand is, as hard as this is for you to see your baby going to prison, imagine what that family feels like when their child is dead,” Lillard told Donna Kosal. “I hope that you learned a valuable lesson from this.”

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Amanda Kosal was sentenced on Thursday to three to 15 years in prison for the June 23, 2016, crash that killed Zirker, 31, and seriously injured his fiancée. WDIV reported that Kisal admitted she was drunk when the pickup truck she was driving crossed the center line and struck the SUV carrying Zirker and Brittany Johnson, 31, of Inkster.

Kosal pleaded guilty to operating under the influence causing death.

Johnson, who is now a single mother to the couple’s five children, told the news station that Zirker had just picked her up from her job as a caregiver at a group home when the fatal crash occurred. The children were usually with their father when he picked her up, she said.

“Luckily, they were at grandma’s house, or it would have been all of us,” Johnson told WDIV.

Zirker’s mother, Rathel Fizer, told the news station that she would rather see Amanda Kosal free and working to help support her son’s children, since he no longer can.

“If she goes to prison or jail, I’m taking care of her,” Fizer said. “I don’t want her to mail a check. I want her to hand-deliver it to them so she can see the faces that she destroyed.”

911 call: Woman’s shooting death was accidental

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 3:22 AM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 9:28 PM

Woman's death investigated as homicide

UPDATE @9:30 p.m.

In a 911 call, a caller stated a gun accidentally went off, and a woman had been hit.

“We were trying to unload this gun, and it went off, and it hit her in the shoulder,” the 911 caller states.

A dispatcher asked the caller if it was an accident, and the 911 caller said it was.

>> TRENDING: Child survives double fatal crash in Greene County; victims identified 

The victim, Eileen Jones, 30, was taken to Miami Valley Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The coroner’s office said an official ruling has not been made, but a Dayton police report lists the dead as a felony homicide/murder investigation.

We are working to learn if a suspect has been taken into custody. 

This story will be updated as we learn more.

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

UPDATE @ 12:30 p.m.

The death of a 30-year-old Dayton woman is a homicide, Dayton police said.

The shooting was reported around 1 a.m. in the 600 block of West Fairview Avenue.

The victim, who was pronounced dead at Miami Valley Hospital, has been identified as Eileen Jones.

There is no information about a suspect or whether any arrests have been made.

FIRST REPORT

There has been a reported shooting in the 600 block of West Fairview Avenue, per initial reports.

Crews were dispatched to the incident  just before 3 a.m. on Sunday.

We have a crew on the way to the scene and are working to learn more details. 

Local county now letting women inmates pick up trash on side of road

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 2:58 PM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 2:58 PM

Clark County female jail inmates now help clean trash from county roadways.

Women inmates at the Clark County Jail are being given the opportunity to pick up trash on the side of the road.

Previously, only men inmates were allowed to pick up trash while women inmates earned credit on their jail time by working in the laundry.

Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett said gender roles are outdated and now the women inmates can labor on the side of the road, too.

MORE: Clark County sheriff’s ‘ghost’ unit targets drugs

“We are picking up trash on the side of the highway to make Clark County look better,” inmate Jennifer Scott said. “We do I-70, Route 4 and sometimes when the weather is to0 bad we will go to the dog shelter and help out.”

Scott is a non-violent criminal who was sentenced to jail after a probation violation. She said getting out of the jail for a few hours can be a big morale booster.

“I think its a great opportunity for some of the girls,” she said. “I think it could be a way for women to change their lifestyle.”

EXTRA: Drug dealers former items sold as sheriff’s auction

Scott said she has picked up a lot of beer cans and bottles on the side of the road and more clothes than she expected. The garbage on the side of the road is bad for the environment, Scott said, and an eye-sore for the county. Her experience picking up trash will lead to her being more thoughtful, she said.

“It is going to make me think twice before I throw stuff out my window,” she said.

READ: Clark County sheriff giving away dozens of bikes for free

Overall, Scott said the goal is to get out as soon as possible and be a better person after the stay in jail.

“When we walk out of here we will change our lives and be productive members of society,” she said.

Driver ‘jerked the doors out’ of Estridge Market in Dayton

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 7:56 PM



Steph Muhlenkamp / Contributed
(Steph Muhlenkamp / Contributed)

The driver of a pickup truck “jerked the doors out” Sunday morning to the entrance of the Estridge Market, but the grocer was as busy as ever.

“We’ve always had good customers,” Estridge Market owner Stan Angel said.

A tarp covers the doorway to the business at 4240 Hoover Ave., and Angel said he hopes to get new doors installed as quickly as possible.

The doors were pulled off the frames around 6 a.m., according to a Dayton police report. 

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A witness reported a driver backed up his pickup truck to the front doors, The suspect, wearing a sweatshirt with the hood up covering his face, got out of the truck for about a minute before getting back in.

It was then the suspect apparently attached a chain that secures the doors from would-be thieves to the back of his truck, according to the report.

The suspect then drove off, pulling the doors off the frame. One door remained in front of the store, and a second was found at the intersection of Hoover Avenue and Verona Road.

>> Young child survives crash that kills two family members

The doors were wide open, but nothing was found missing, the report stated.

Damage to the front of the store is nothing new, Angel said.

 “Someone drove through them,” Angel said of the doors, “we’ve had the glass broken a couple times this year.”

He’s not hopeful the suspect will be caught. “It’s sad the world we live in.”

>> East Dayton neighborhood copes with loss of its only grocery store

This market sustained damage that can be repaired, but last month another local market, Mor For Less on East Third Street, was destroyed by a massive fire. The owner said he hopes to rebuild.

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Suspect faces murder charge after man found dead in Dayton home

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 1:31 PM
Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 2:40 PM

Initial reports indicate medics and police were dispatched to a house in the 1100 block of Grafton Avenue on a report of a person down with an unknown problem.

UPDATE @ 2:40 p.m. (Dec. 10)

A 23-year-old Dayton man will be arraigned Monday following his arrest in the death of a Dayton man found shot to death in the upstairs of a Dayton house.

Markale Thomas was arrested Friday night and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of murder, a Dayton police report and jail records show.

Markale Thomas(MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL)

He is accused of fatally shooting 42-year-old Sayed Villanueva, who was found around 12:45 p.m. Friday by family members at the home in the 1100 block of Grafton Avenue.

UPDATE @ 9:10 a.m  (Dec. 10)

The man found shot to death in the upstairs of a Grafton Avenue home Friday afternoon has been identified as Sayed Villanueva, 42, of Dayton.

The preliminary cause and manner of his death is not available at this time. An autopsy is scheduled for today, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office. 

UPDATE @ 4:09 p.m.:

Multiple people are being detained and questioned after a man was found shot to death in the upstairs of a Grafton Avenue home Friday.

The man was discovered by family members in the house in the 1100 block of Grafton shortly before 1 p.m.

The man’s identity has not been released.

EARLIER

A man has been found shot dead inside a home on Grafton Avenue in Dayton, according to regional dispatch traffic between officers. 

We’re working to confirm these reports and learn more on the status of the investigation.

An investigator from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office has arrived at the scene.  

TRENDING: Police investigating body found in Great Miami River

Additional details have not been released from officers on scene and dispatchers. 

>>Latest Local News

Our crew remains on the scene and we’ll update this page as we learn more.