Man pleads to charges in drunk driving crash that killed young couple and their unborn child

August 18, 2023

David Wellington with his attorneys Horia Neago, at right, and Tracie Dinehart.

Man pleads to charges in drunk driving crash that killed young couple and their unborn child

David Wellington faces up to life in prison

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor

LUDINGTON — A 29-year-old man faces five to 19 years minimum to a maximum of life in prison after pleading “no contest” in Mason County’s 51st Circuit Court Friday, Aug. 18, for driving drunk and crashing into another vehicle, killing a young couple and their unborn child.

David Allen Wellington pleaded “no contest” to two counts of homicide — manslaughter, two counts of operating while intoxicated causing death, one count of operating while intoxicated causing a miscarriage/stillbirth and fourth-offense habitual offender.

Wellington was driving a 2010 Jeep Patriot that crashed 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’s habitual offender status elevates his maximum possible sentence to life in prison. His case was set to go to trial Monday, Aug. 21, but the trial will no longer occur in light of his plea.

“The People were ready to go to trial,” said Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Kreinbrink, but defense attorney Horia Neagos presented Kreinbrink with a plea agreement signed by his client last Friday. “The family accepted the agreement in lieu of trial,” she said.

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

“Mr. Wellington has been represented by several attorneys,” said defense attorney Neagos. Early on, there were potential negotiations to resolve the case with a plea agreement, he said. “One thing that hasn’t changed is that Mr. Wellington has wanted to accept responsibility and doesn’t want to put the victims’ families through a trial.”

When Judge Susan K. Sniegowski asked why his client pleaded “no contest,” Neagos said it was to avoid “potential civil liability.”

The judge read the Mason County Sheriff’s Office police report to sustain the “no contest” plea. A little over two hours after the deadly crash, Wellington’s blood was drawn, and his blood alcohol level was .116, she said.

“Mr. Wellington was traveling at a very high rate of speed,” said the judge. His car reached a speed of 95 mph in a 55 mph zone, and it was going 73 mph just prior to the crash. He was traveling on the wrong side of the road when he crashed into the couple’s vehicle. Wellington was traveling west on US 10 — headed to Shelby in Oceana County — while McLain-Williams was traveling east when the crash occurred.

Wellington originally faced seven criminal counts: two counts of homicide – second-degree murder; two counts of operating while intoxicated causing death; one count of operating while intoxicated causing a 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. The other charges will be dismissed in exchange for his plea.

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 Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital (now Corewell Health) 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.

Wellington has an extensive criminal history. 

On May 12, 2014, he was sentenced in Oceana County’s 27th Circuit (now 51st Circuit) Court to up to five years in prison for committing/procuring gross indecency between a male and a female. 

On Feb. 11, 2015, Wellington, who was living in Rothbury at the time, was sentenced in Oceana County 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 27th Circuit Court to 18 months to five years in prison for violating his probation in relation to the gross indecency sentence. 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 (now 79th District) Court for marijuana possession and was sentenced to one year discretionary jail.

On Aug. 14, 2018, was found guilty in Oceana County of 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.

Wellington is currently lodged in the Mason County Jail on a $500,000 bond awaiting sentencing, which is set for Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 10 a.m.

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