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.”

OSP cruiser hit in Dayton after I-75N pursuit from Middletown

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:01 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 2:21 AM

Pursuit ends on Keowee St in Dayton

A trooper’s cruiser was struck Wednesday night in Dayton during a pursuit that began in Middletown.

The chase involved a white Chevrolet Camaro, which began on northbound Interstate 75 south of exit 32 (Ohio 122).

>> Report: Thousands in jewelry stolen from Rogers Jewelers in Middletown

Three people were taken into custody, and the trooper was not hurt, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Hamilton Post.

>> Local news: Shots fired, 3 injured in crash on Germantown Street in Dayton

Keowee Street was closed just north of Third Street and police had taped the area off for the investigation.

A Miamisburg man said he was in his vehicle at East Third and Keowee streets when a white Camaro — its headlights out — raced by him from behind.

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T.C. Cavinder said the sports car narrowly missed his and another vehicle, hit curbs along Keowee and stopped near a bridge. A man in the Camaro hopped out and threw up his hands, Cavinder said.

We are working to find out what led to the pursuit.

Wife stabbed 123 times in alleged 'cold medicine' killing, autopsy shows

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 2:13 AM

Man Accused Of Fatally Stabbing Wife, Blames Cold Medicine

An autopsy has found 123 stab wounds and cuts on a woman who police say was stabbed by her husband after he said he awoke from a dream with blood all over him.

>> On WSOCTV.com: Raleigh man who blamed cold meds after stabbing wife to death faces judge

WSOC-TV's partner in Raleigh, WTVD, obtained the autopsy report for 29-year-old Lauren Phelps which details 24 stab wounds and 20 cuts to her head and neck, as well as dozens of wounds to her torso and arms.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Man claims cold medicine caused fatal stabbing of wife

In a 911 call, Phelps' 27-year-old husband, Matthew, told the operator he took more cold medicine than he should have Sept. 1 and woke up after his dream with blood all over him and a knife on the bed he shared with his wife in their Raleigh home.

>> Read more trending news

Matthew Phelps is charged with first-degree murder.

Man claims cold medicine caused fatal stabbing of wife

Published: Monday, September 04, 2017 @ 5:09 PM

Man Accused Of Fatally Stabbing Wife, Blames Cold Medicine

A Raleigh, North Carolina, newlywed was arrested and charged with murdering his wife.

The News & Observer reported that police spokeswoman Laura Hourigan said Matthew Phelps, 29, was charged shortly after 6 a.m. Friday.

Phelps called 911 after waking up and discovering his wife, Lauren Ashley-Nicole Phelps, 29, stabbed to death in their bedroom.

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In the 911 call made at about 1:10 a.m., the dispatcher is heard asking him to explain exactly what happened. Phelps said he “had a dream” and when he turned on the lights, she was “dead on the floor.”

The dispatcher continued to ask Phelps questions about his wife. He can be heard becoming emotional and telling the dispatcher that she is not breathing, and that he is “too scared to get close to her.” He then told the dispatcher that he took more cold medicine than he should have before going to bed.

“I took Coricidin Cough and Cold because I know it can make you feel good and sometimes I can’t sleep at night,” Phelps told the dispatcher. Phelps can then be heard sobbing toward the end of the seven-minute call.

“I can’t believe I did this,” Phelps said. “Oh God. She didn’t deserve this. Why?”

According to the couple’s posts on Facebook, the two were married Nov. 13 of last year, News & Observer reported.

Phelps, who did not have a past record, will make his first court appearance Tuesday. A jail spokesman said Phelps is at  Wake County jail without bail.

Convicted rapist won't have joint custody of victim's child after judge rescinds ruling

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 1:49 AM

Woman’s Rapist Gets Joint Custody Of Child He Fathered In Assault

The Michigan judge behind a controversial ruling last month, which granted a convicted sex offender joint legal custody to the child conceived by his 12-year-old victim in 2008, has rescinded his decisionCBS News reports.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Woman’s rapist gets joint custody of child he fathered in assault

Sanilac County Judge Gregory Ross ruled Tuesday that 27-year-old Christopher Mirasolo will not have any parental rights to the 8-year-old boy. However, he will still be expected to pay for child support.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Lawyer: Rapist granted joint custody of boy he fathered will not seek visitation

Mirasolo was not seeking custody of the child. This odd scenario started when the mother, now 21, sought state assistance for her son. Ross ruled for joint legal custody after a DNA test verified Mirasolo was the boy’s biological father.

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Why did Ross initially grant Mirasolo legal custody? John Nevin, a spokesman for the Michigan Supreme Court, said that Ross wasn’t aware of Mirasolo’s two convictions, nor of how he and the mother were connected. After learning of Mirasolo’s record, Ross put the order on hold and rescheduled a hearing for Tuesday.

In a statement released to the Port Huron Times Herald, Sanilac County Prosecutor James Young said he wanted to “express [officials’] apologies for the manner in which this case was handled.”

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The mother, identified only as Tiffany, spoke to CBS News earlier this month and expressed dismay that the judge would grant her attacker joint custody of her son. She said she had to provide the father’s name as a condition of receiving state financial assistance.

“I was receiving government assistance, and they told me if I did not tell them who the father was of my child, that they would take that away from me,” Tiffany said.

She said “horrible things” and “flashbacks” still come to mind when she hears Mirasolo’s name.