Murder charges filed against woman who crashed into building hosting birthday party, killing 2 kids

BERLIN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan woman was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder and other crimes after prosecutors say she drunkenly smashed her SUV into a boat club that was hosting a birthday party, killing two young siblings and injuring several other people.

Marshella Chidester, 66, faces eight counts in Saturday’s tragic crash at the Swan Boat Club in Monroe County, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Detroit, court records show.

Chidester, who has been in jail since the crash, was due in court later Tuesday, prosecutor Jeff Yorkey said.

A message seeking comment was left for Chidester’s attorney. The Detroit News reported that Chidester is a former commodore at the boat club.

The crash killed 8-year-old Alanah Phillips and her 4-year-old brother, Zayn Phillips, the sheriff’s office said. Their mother and another sibling were among the injured.

Authorities haven’t said whom the birthday party was honoring.

The boat club located off Swan Creek near Lake Erie is a membership-based organization that hosts holiday parties and other events, and provides docking space for members who own boats, according to its website. The club also advertises on social media that members can rent the clubhouse or pavilion for personal events including birthday parties.


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