Cody Hawk-Berning, 23 (pictured), faces four felony charges after a car accident in June 2017 left Hunter James Conaty, 22, dead
A Michigan man is facing four felony charges after being involved in a second fatal crash in the same amount of years.
On Tuesday a judge ruled that there is enough evidence to charge 23-year-old Cody Hawk-Berning to stand trial for second-degree murder, operating while intoxicated causing death, reckless driving causing death and failing to stop at the scene of a crash resulting in death.
James Conaty, 22, was killed on January 16, 2017 when Hawk-Berning drove a van that crashed into a tree in Ingham County.
The Detroit Free Press reported that District Court Judge Donald Allen said Hawk-Berning was aware he could have caused death or risked serious injury by speeding while drunk and should have learned lessons from the previous killer crash.
‘He could have avoided this by not going out,’ Allen said.
Hawk-Berning allegedly left the scene of the crash, went home, and then returned with his girlfriend Morgien Hewitt, who first told police she was driving the van before Hawk-Berning admitted he was the driver.
Hunter James Conaty (center) was killed on January 16, 2017 when Hawk-Berning drove a van that crashed into a tree in Ingham County
A blood test revealed that Hawk-Berning had a blood alcohol content of below 0.8, but a state expert testified that his alcohol level could have been nearly 0.16, twice the legal limit, at the time of the crash.
At the time of the 2017 crash, Hawk-Berning was awaiting trial for a charge of reckless driving causing death after a dirt bike accident left 23-year-old Kraig Hunter dead.
‘Driving down the road at an extremely high rate of speed with alcohol and drugs in his system, he does what so many people do … he drives off the road,’ Assistant Ingham County Prosecutor Jonathan Roth said on Tuesday.
A blood test revealed that Hawk-Berning (right) had a blood alcohol content of below 0.8, but a state expert testified that his alcohol level could have been nearly 0.16, twice the legal limit, at the time of the crash. Pictured: Hunter James Conaty (left)
Hawk-Berning was not intoxicated at the time of the first crash.
‘I think this is a case of overreach by the prosecutor,’ said defense attorney Mike Nichols.
‘And I’m not sure if it’s because they want to try and make it an example because of the type of case it is, or because of Mr. Hawk-Berning, or if they want to just be creative. But I think they’ve gone too far.’