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Posted on Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor woman pleads guilty in drunken hit-and-run accident that left bicyclist seriously injured

By John Counts


Kimberley Morse

The Ann Arbor woman accused of seriously injuring a bicyclist in a drunken driving incident pleaded guilty and no contest to two charges Wednesday in the Washtenaw County Trial Court.

Kimberly Vernell Morse, 44, pleaded guilty to a charge of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury and no contest to failing to stop at the scene of a serious personal injury accident. A third charge of operating while intoxicated will be dismissed at sentencing.

Judge Archie Brown agreed to sentence Morse on the lower end of the guidelines, probably around 14 to 38 months in prison. The two charges are five-year maximum felonies.

Morse was visibly upset as she entered her pleas. The no contest plea came about on the second count because Morse doesn’t remember leaving the scene.

“She doesn’t have a recollection of striking anyone,” said Morse’s attorney, Richard Convertino.

Morse admitted in court that her blood alcohol content level was .24 percent when, around dusk on March 13, she struck Ann Arbor bicyclist William Pidgeon, 61, while on Dixboro Road in Ann Arbor Township and then left the scene. A state trooper later arrested her when she crashed again at U.S. 23 and North Territorial Road.

A Washtenaw County Sheriff’s court officer, Joe LaFerier, was driving home that evening when he saw bike parts scattered on the southbound lane of Dixboro. LaFerier called 911, helped Pidgeon out of a ditch and waited until ambulances arrived to transport the injured man to the hospital. The Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society later honored LaFerier with an award for helping to save Pidgeon’s life.

Pidgeon has recovered from the accident, but declined to be interviewed by

Morse also was on probation at the time of the incident and pleaded guilty in court Wednesday to violating it. Morse, who is free on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced on all three charges at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 24.


Deb Anderson

Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

God bless Joe LaFerier, as a cyclist myself, we all hope to have a guardian angel like him around! I can't imagine the ordeal and pain that Mr. Pidgeon had to endure. Our legal system is entirely too lenient on drunk drivers and I echo someone else's concern here -- how long will it be until she kills someone?


Fri, Sep 14, 2012 : 7:12 a.m.

Drunk driving continues to be a crime not taken seriously by the courts. Here is just another example.

Allison Camara

Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

If you are unhappy with how long/short she is staying in prison take it up with people who gave her that plea deal not the judge, if they didn't go with the plea deal there would be a drawn out court room battle and sometimes it's cheaper for taxpayers to have plea deals. Also if the Judge didn't like the plea agreement he could have some say in the matter he could always go for the higher end of the agreement 38 months instead of 14 months.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

So, it always boils down to money huh?


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

Seems as though a lot of the cyclists...erm, commenters in this thread have never heard of a plea bargain or agreement. It happens every day a thousand times and if it didn't you would have to build a thousand new prisons. They are also used to induce a guilty plea on specific charges so the transaction visa vie trial if you will will be a formality. Otherwise. You would need a thousand new courtrooms, judges, and prosecutors too. Get real for a change.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

I hope this was a sobering experience for her.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

Do you think Archie needs to be replaced??? He has mis-placed his compassion.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

Nothing to do with compassion, everything to do with a plea agreement.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Judge Archie Brown agreed to sentence Morse on the lower end of the guidelines, probably around 14 to 38 months - Archie - you wimp. Bill is a great guy and dedicated to his fitness. We are all vulnerable to drunks like her...This one is on Archie's shoulders.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

No. It was a plea agreement and he sentenced in accordance with it.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Why is the charge of driving while intoxicated being dismissed?


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

Part of the plea deal.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

Mr. Pidgeon is so lucky to have survived this. I think a sentence of two years with mental treatment would have been appropriate.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

Chase Ingersoll: "I hope to hear Kimberly's story at the Alano Club in a few years." It would be far better to hear her story there sooner. . . This implies she has hit bottom. . . and considers that a sentence of 14-38 months in prison doesn't always equate to actual time served. Condolences to the cyclist. Gratitude to the officer.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

If she was on probation, why doesn't OTIS (Offender Tracking Information System) say why?


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

OTIS is primarily for those who go to prison. People get typically get paroled from prison, if they are on probation it's usually from the county jail. There are criminal background search engines such as ichat (through the state police) that will allow you to search public records for criminal background give you a more full picture of someone's offenses including misdemeanors, but it's not free to use.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 12:19 p.m.

"Judge Archie Brown agreed to sentence Morse on the lower end of the guidelines..." and "Morse also was on probation at the time of the incident..." Why go light on the sentencing?


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

From what is reported regularly on, it appears Judge Brown normally goes to the highest end of the guidelines, so this woman is truly getting off lightly by having the plea deal. What I don't understand in general is how the guidelines can allow for a person with a prior offense who commits a very similar crime except that the injured parties (3 persons) were in a vehicle instead of riding a bicycle, to get a sentence of only 5 days in jail while this woman gets 14 to 38 months in prison on the low end. The system needs to be re-evaluated as far as punishments dealt to drunk drivers. More and more second offenders who cause great bodily harm get their get-out-jail free cards and then go on to continue to drink and drive.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

It appears that was part of the plea deal.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 10:59 a.m.

What was she on probation for? Story is a tragedy. Too much human wreckage.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Looks like she had a previous DUI according to the linked article.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 10:05 a.m.

How long before this woman kills someone?


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

Lola - are you saying that getting in an accident while high would be acceptable to you? What's your point?


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

Know what youre saying Lola, but totally inappropriate in this context.


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

Lola, marijuana impairs your senses as well. If this woman smokes dope instead of drinking alcohol she still would have been driving impaired. In light of this one has to ask what was the point of your post?


Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

Yet alcohol is perfectly legal to buy, sell and consume but marijuana is not. This makes zero sense.

Ed Kimball

Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

At least 14-38 months if she serves the sentence.