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People v. Carll: Reckless Driving Conviction Upheld

January 23, 2018 Criminal Law and Procedure

The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld a reckless driving conviction in the case of People v. Carll.

What Happened in the Case

Carll was driving a truck with six other people in the vehicle. Carll was driving 30-40 miles per hour on a gravel road. Carll drove through a stop sign without slowing down and hit a car in the intersection that had the right of way.

The evidence presented showed that Carll did not apply the brakes before entering the intersection or before the stop sign. The driver of the other vehicle was killed and the passenger in the vehicle suffered injuries, and two of Carll’s passengers suffered injuries as well.

Carll was convicted of one count of reckless driving causing death and three counts of reckless driving causing serious impairment of a bodily function.

One appeal, Carll challenged the finding that his behavior constituted reckless driving, among other challenges.

What is Reckless Driving?

The crime of reckless driving is driving with the willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. This standard is more than ordinary negligence.

The Court’s Finding

The Court believed there was enough evidence for a reckless driving conviction.

There was testimony that Carll was driving too fast for the conditions, which was a gravel road. Carll had been driving 30 to 40 mph when approaching the stop sign of the intersection. There was no indication that Carll attempted to slow down before reaching the stop sign. Other passengers in the car warned Carll of the stop sign and noted the stop sign was visible from a good distance away. Another passenger believed Carll accelerated as he neared the stop sign.

Carll testified in his defense that he attempted to brake but that the brakes didn’t work. However, there was expert testimony that there was nothing wrong with the brakes before the accident.

A Michigan State Police accident reconstructionist testified that based on the gravel road patterns there was no indications that Carll used the brakes.

The Court upheld the reckless driving conviction. However, Carll’s appellate counsel identified an issue of first impression regarding the sentencing and offense variable 13, and the Court remanded the case for sentencing.

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Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at

Sam Bernstein is a Criminal Defense Attorney in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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