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

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.”

Missing cop faked his death, fled to Mexico, police say

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 6:31 PM



Austin Police Department

A Texas police officer who was originally reported missing is believed to have attempted to fake his own death and to have fled to Mexico, officials said Friday night.

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Austin police Officer Coleman Martin, 29, is facing a Class A misdemeanor charge of “false report,” as a result.

Martin’s wife told KVUE-TV on Saturday that “Cole recently received a new prescription medication."

"The side effects were causing him to be depressed and think irrationally,” she said. “We want him to know his family loves him unconditionally and wants him home safe." 

Martin’s wife asked to remain anonymous for the interview.

An arrest affidavit for the missing officer said a woman, who was not his wife, shared an email with detectives, in which Martin wrote to her and said his plan for a staged death had been successful.

The affidavit does not say how the woman knows Martin.

Martin’s email to the woman said he had staged a scene by parking his vehicle by a body of water near the U.S. border with Mexico, the affidavit says. Then he rode a bicycle for about 8 miles to a convenience store, took a taxi to the border and rode a bus farther into Mexico, the affidavit says he said in the email.

Police obtained video footage of Martin at a gas station in Del Rio, the affidavit says. They also talked to a clerk at the gas station who had spoken to Martin. Martin told the clerk he had biked from Amistad Park to the store, the affidavit says.

Police first got involved on Tuesday night, when Martin’s wife called 911, the affidavit says. She told police that Martin had texted her a photo of a handwritten note that said he was going to drown himself in a lake near the border of Mexico. 

The next morning, officials at the Amistad National Recreation Area said they found Martin’s vehicle with a suicide note inside, the affidavit says. His wallet was also inside the vehicle, but there was no money inside it. His passport was also not in the vehicle.

In response, “a massive search operation was initiated using local, state and federal resources” on Wednesday and Thursday, the affidavit says.

The search team found an inflatable raft in the Amistad Reservoir, which is on the Rio Grande at the border between Mexico and the United States, with Martin’s name, his date of birth, date of death and his and his wife’s initials written on the side, the affidavit says. Inside the raft were remnants of a concrete block as well as scrape marks that indicated that concrete blocks had been pushed over the edge.

Investigators discovered a charge on Martin’s credit card for a new HP tablet from a Best Buy in Austin a few hours before he sent the suicide note to his wife, and the tablet was not found in his vehicle, the affidavit said. Then, investigators learned that someone had accessed Martin’s email from Mexico about five hours after he sent the suicide note text.

According to the affidavit, investigators believe Martin placed “the boat to appear he entered the water, paddled to the middle and jumped overboard with concrete blocks and ropes, and (placed) the raft on the shore to give the appearance it had drifted to shore from where the initial entry place was.”

Investigators tracked down and interviewed the unnamed woman at 4:15 p.m. Thursday.

Police: Man cuts girlfriend's betta fish in half during fight

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 3:44 PM

betta fish Aquarian fish swims in aquarium water
NatalyaAksenova/Getty Images/iStockphoto

A domestic dispute in Connecticut ended with significant property damage, including a woman's betta fish being cut in half.

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The incident took place Thursday, according to the New Britain Herald. Police responded to a domestic disturbance call, where a woman, who was not identified, said her boyfriend, Juan Vega, 33, showed up at her home unexpectedly and began arguing with her. During the argument, the woman claims Vega pushed her. He also kicked a TV, breaking it, and cut a betta fish in half, police noted.

Vega gathered his belongings and left the premises, according to the police report.

Police tracked down Vega, who was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals and second-degree breach of peace, according to the New Britain Herald. Police said Vega admitted to damaging property and killing his girlfriend's fish.

Police: Florida man’s fight with girlfriend causes neighborhood power outage

Published: Saturday, April 29, 2017 @ 3:09 PM

Milian
Miami Dade County Sheriff's Office

A man in Hialeah who got into an argument with his girlfriend ended up causing a power outage in the neighborhood, police said. 

The outage happened when Angel Milian, 18, set his girlfriend’s purse on fire and threw it over a gate at his house, WPLG reports.

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Florida man accused of killing roommate’s baby 

Firefighters said the purse set a $3,000 palm tree on fire, and the flames spread to a Florida Power & Light electrical box, according to WPLG. 

Hialeah police arrested Milian when the girlfriend showed officers a recorded video of him lighting her purse on fire. He was taken to the county jail and faces a second-degree charge of arson. 

Read more at local10.com.

Deputies: Boy dies after drunken driver strikes 5 children walking home from bus stop

Published: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 1:21 PM

A 13-year-boy died Friday after he and four other children were struck by a drunken driver while they walked home from a bus stop Thursday in Florida, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

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John Camfield, 48, of Davenport, was driving his Kia Rio on Allegheny Road near Athabasca Drive at about 5 p.m. Thursday when witnesses said he leaned forward and left the road, hitting five Dundee Ridge Middle Academy students who were walking on a shoulder of the road, Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Judd said Camfield sideswiped Jonte Robinson, 15, Jasmine Robertson, 14, and Rylan Pryce, 12, before striking Jahiem Robertson and Juan Mena, both 13.

Deputies said Jahiem Robertson and Juan Mena were flown to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando with life-threatening spinal, facial and head injuries.

Investigators said Jahiem Robertson died Friday. Mena remains hospitalized with orbital fractures, but he is expected to survive, Judd said.

Witnesses said Camfield traveled back onto the road after hitting the children, slowed and then sped off before rear-ending a pregnant woman in a Nissan Murano on Poinciana Parkway, deputies said. Investigators said the woman wasn't seriously injured.

Deputy Jonathan Quintana, 30, who lives nearby, arrested Camfield after being notified of the crash, officials said. He was off duty at the time.

Judd said Camfield spent 18 years in law enforcement in Mississippi.

Deputies said Camfield was previously employed by: the Yolobusha County Sheriff's Office, the Tunica County Sheriff's Office, the Oxford Police Department and the Hernando Police Department, all in Mississippi.

Camfield is charged with two counts of driving under the influence with serious bodily injury, two counts of leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury, two counts of leaving the scene of a crash with bodily injury, three counts of driving under the influence with injury and property damage and reckless driving.

Camfield is scheduled to face a judge at 1 p.m. Friday.