Teens Charged with Felonies Related to March 22 Fatal Hit and Run in Walled Lake
(OCSO, May 12, 2023)
Walled Lake, MI – Two teenagers who were fleeing from police were charged today with multiple felonies in the hit and run traffic crash that killed a 13-year-old Commerce Township girl, seriously injured her mother and sister as well as injuring three other people.
The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office determined the charges for both would be limited to felony fleeing and eluding charges and misdemeanor charges of leaving the scene of injury accident.
The driver of the car, a 15-year-old male from West Bloomfield, faces one count of first-degree fleeing from a police officer, two counts of second-degree fleeing from a police officer and a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. A conviction on the first-degree fleeing charge – the most serious of the offenses – carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
His name is withheld because he is a juvenile. He was arrested today and appeared before Referee David Bilson at Oakland County Children’s Village for a preliminary hearing. Bilson continued the boy’s detention until a May 16 appearance before Oakland County Circuit Court – Family Division Judge Amanda Shelton.
The passenger, Gavin Anthony Kassab, 19, of Commerce Township, faces the same fleeing charges as the driver. He was arraigned today on the charges in 52-1 District Court in Novi. Magistrate Andra Richardson set a $250,000 bond, which was posted today.
Kassab’s next court appearance is May 24 for a probable cause conference. Kassab must wear a GPS tether while on bond, submit to alcohol and random drug testing, and have no contact with the victim’s family or any witnesses.
“This was a horrific and completely preventable tragedy and both individuals should be held fully accountable,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. “I am proud of all the work our team did building this case, even including DNA evidence.”
The crash happened March 22 at approximately 7:45 p.m. on eastbound West Maple Road near Decker Road in Walled Lake.
The juvenile – who did not have a driver’s license or learner’s permit – was operating a 2023 Jeep Gladiator when he disregarded a red traffic signal light at the intersection of north Pontiac Trail and east West Maple Road. A Walled Lake police officer attempted to make a traffic stop but the Jeep drove away at a high rate of speed on east West Maple Road.
Investigators said Kassab was using his cell phone to record outside the passenger window while they were fleeing from Walled Lake police.
Statements captured on the cell phone suggest Kassab encouraged the juvenile to flee. The driver of the Jeep disregarded a red traffic light at Decker Road. The Jeep collided with two other vehicles – one traveling northbound on Decker Road, and the other traveling southbound.
The Jeep became immobilized and the two occupants – later identified as the juvenile and Kassab – ran away from the scene. The northbound vehicle was a 2010 Honda Fit driven by a 51-year-old Commerce Township woman. Her two daughters, ages 10 and 13, were passengers in the vehicle.
The 13-year-old girl was removed from the vehicle by paramedics and taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
The mother and her 10-year-old daughter were both seriously injured. They have since been released from the hospital and are recovering at home. The southbound vehicle was a 2020 Chevrolet Equinox driven by a 43-year-old Commerce Township resident and occupied by a 10-year-old passenger. Both were wearing seatbelts at the time and were treated and released.
A fourth vehicle, a 2023 Cadillac STX, was stopped at the light at east West Maple and Decker when it was struck by the Honda as it spun. The driver, a 58-year-old Commerce Township woman, was treated and released. She was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
The Sheriff’s Office Crash Reconstruction Unit investigated the incident at the request of the Walled Lake Police. The Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit, Fugitive Apprehension Team, Computer Crimes Unit, Forensic Science and DNA lab, road patrol as well as Crash Reconstruction Unit all worked the case, with as many as 15 people working on the case at a time.
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