Trial for Manton man in deadly crash delayed.

September 23, 2022


Trial for Manton man in deadly crash delayed.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

LUDINGTON — Eighteen months after a deadly crash that killed three people in Walhalla, the trial for the man who drove the car that caused the crash has been delayed. 

A motion hearing was held on Sept. 13. During that hearing, defense attorney Matthew Kacel asked for an adjournment to allow for a toxicologist/expert to review the blood alcohol results, according to Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Kreinbrink. 

Wellington’s trial in 51st Circuit Court was scheduled to begin on Sept. 26. Kreinbrink said it’s likely the trial has now been delayed until early 2023. 

Wellington was the driver of a 2010 Jeep Patriot involved in the crash the afternoon of March 1, 2021 on US 10 in Walhalla. David Lee Mclain-Williams, 24, and Ashley Nicole Plotts, 22, and their unborn baby son, David, Jr. were killed in the crash. Plotts was eight months pregnant.

Wellington faces seven criminal counts: two counts of homicide – second-degree murder; two counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death; one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing miscarriage/stillbirth; one count of failing to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death; and one count of operating without a license. He also faces a fourth-offense habitual offender designation.

Following the crash, Mason County Sheriff’s Office investigators determined Wellington’s vehicle struck Mclain-Williams’ vehicle at an excessive speed. Wellington was traveling west — headed to Shelby in Oceana County — while Mclain-William was traveling east.

Scene of the fatal crash in Walhalla on March 1, 2021.

In March of this year, Kreinbrink offered a plea agreement that would have included Wellington pleading guilty to the first five counts and the habitual-offender designation and dismissing the charges of failing to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death and operating without a license. If the plea had been accepted, he would have been sentenced within the guidelines 315-1,050 months, which is 26 years and three months to 87 and a half years.

During the arraignment hearing in March 2021, 79th District Court Magistrate Glenn Jackson stated that investigators determined that Wellington’s vehicle was traveling about 90 mph. He also stated that a blood draw at the hospital concluded that Wellington’s blood alcohol content was .15, nearly twice the legal limit of .08. Deputies also found marijuana in Wellington’s vehicle.

Immediately following the crash, Wellington fled the crash scene on foot. A Mason County sheriff’s deputy and a Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer tracked him for approximately a half mile before locating him with the assistance of citizens in the area.

According to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, McLain-Williams was pronounced dead at the scene. Passersby and first responders performed CPR on Plotts on the scene. She was then transported to Ludington hospital where she and the baby were pronounced dead.

After being apprehended, Wellington was transported by ambulance to Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. He was then arrested and lodged in jail.

Second-degree murder is a felony that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death, carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Operating while intoxicated causing a miscarriage or stillbirth, carries a maximum of 15 years in prison. Failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death carries a maximum of five years in prison. Operating without a license is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

Wellington has an extensive criminal history. 

On May 12, 2014, he was sentenced in Oceana County’s 27th Circuit Court to up to five years in prison for committing/procuring gross indecency between a male and a female. The offense took place on April 3, 2013. He was discharged Oct. 26, 2015.

On Feb. 11, 2015, Wellington, who was living in Rothbury at the time, was sentenced in Oceana County’s 27th Circuit Court, to serve up to five months in jail for larceny of items from a residence three days before Christmas.

On Oct. 26, 2015 , Wellington, who was living in Shelby at the time, was sentenced in Oceana County’s 27th Circuit Court to 18 months to five years in prison for violating his probation in relation to the gross indecency sentence. He was discharged from prison on Aug. 30, 2018. During sentencing, (now retired) Judge Anthony A. Monton sentenced Wellington in “excess of the guidelines,” he said, “considering the numerous amount of violations.” Wellington “exhausted all his remedies for local county jail time,” said his attorney, Rick Prysock. “I did what I did; I messed up; there’s no excuse,” Wellington said.

On July 19, 2018, Wellington, who was living in Hart at the time, was sentenced in Oceana County’s 78th District Court for marijuana possession and was sentenced to one year discretionary jail.

On Aug. 14, 2018, was found guilty in Oceana County’s 78th District Court on driving while license suspended and sentenced to 93 days discretionary jail.

On May 7, 2019, he was sentenced in Kalkaska County’s 46th Circuit Court to three years in prison for two counts of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct. The offense took place Jan. 1, 2005, and he was discharged July 30, 2020.

Wellington continues to be housed at the Mason County Jail.

Editor’s Note: A person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

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