L’ANSE, Mich. (WZMQ) – The attorney for the man who ran a semi truck into a gas station in L’Anse last fall has asked a Judge to suppress evidence in the case and quash one of the charges his client faces.
The Semi crash left one man dead and a woman injured, 23 year old Dawuan Johnson, of Illinois, was charged with OWI causing death, OWI causing serious injury, and having an open container in a vehicle.
Today Johnson’s attorney, Keith Deforge, argued the evidence which includes footage of field sobriety tests, breathalyzer results, and a blood test for alcohol was achieved without probable cause. Deforge argued that by conducting the tests first responders violated Johnson’s rights. Deforge called a MSP Trooper to the witness stand and asked questions relating to the events of the night of the crash on October 13th, 2022. He also sought to move the OWI causing serious injury charge to civil court rather than criminal. Deforge presented his case by stating the Injuries to the secondary victim in the crash, a Holiday Gas Station employee, were not permanent which he argues should move the case to a civil matter.
Baraga County Prosecutor Joseph P. O’Leary argued against both of the motions filed stating all of the evidence against Johnson was obtained with probable cause.
“It’s a complicated case, simply because of the medical evidence that has to be presented, there are a lot of technicalities that have to be crossed, and of course every time the prosecution takes on a case it has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” said O’Leary after the hearing was finished.
The prosecutor pointed towards the Trooper who was called to the stand noting a strong odor of alcohol on Johnson the night of the crash as enough probable cause to conduct field sobriety tests, and the additional tests that were performed. He also remarked that the turn in US-41 where the crash occurred is traveled by thousands of cars a day and never before or since has a car crashed into a gas station in that area.
Baraga County Circuit Judge, Brittany Bulleit, said she will not make an immediate ruling on either of the motions, she instead took the matters under advisement and will issue a written judgment in the near future.
Johnson is still scheduled to stand trial which is tentatively set for November.