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Posted on Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

Trial set for man accused of drunken driving in death of veterans advocate Gary Lillie

By Kyle Feldscher


Kevin Warren

The man accused of hitting and killing local veterans advocate Gary Lillie while driving drunk in August will stand trial in April after a short court hearing Thursday.

Kevin Warren is facing a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. If he’s convicted, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Warren was in court for his first pretrial hearing Thursday in front of Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge David Swartz. The trial is scheduled to begin on April 16, with a final pretrial hearing to be held on April 5, according to Swartz’s ruling.

At a preliminary exam in October, investigators testified Warren’s Chevrolet Avalanche was traveling between 34 and 42 miles per hour when it struck Lillie, killing him almost instantly. There was no evidence to suggest the vehicle slowed down or swerved before it struck Lillie, investigators said.

Warren’s blood alcohol was .12 percent after the crash, above the .08 limit at which drivers are considered drunk in Michigan, according to evidence provided by investigators. A video presented as evidence showed Warren telling police he dropped his cell phone and was reaching for it when he felt his car strike something. Originally thinking it was a deer, Warren drove home before he returned to the scene and discovered Lillie lying in a ditch, according to police.

Warren is not in custody at the present time. Swartz continued his bond and, if he complies, he will be free until the trial in April.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Merritt Lillie

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 2:22 a.m.

Kyle, Thank you for once again being at the court hearing and reporting out the facts. It is a shame me and the rest of my family and friends were not able to attend. We were told that the hearing was CANCELLED. Such unfair and sad treatment to the family of a victim!!!!


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 12:31 a.m.

Why is the perp not in jail until April? Oh, that's right. This is Washtenaw County, with slap on the wrist justice. Not to worry folks, this guy will plea bargain down to some ridiculous misdemeanor, and get short jail time and probation, for killing someone. Justice will not be done if it's in Washtenaw County.

zip the cat

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

15 yrs,Please how utterly absured In this county with the judges and prosecuter we have he'll be luckey to get anything more than a slap on the wrist. I'll fall down and die if he gets any jail time period.

Merritt Lillie

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 2:20 a.m.

I hope you are wrong. We deserve fair justice. He killed a man, a great revered man. Nothing will bring my uncle back, and I understand that, however there will be some peace of mind if we could see fair sanctions against Mr. Warren.

Marilyn Wilkie

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

I can't think of a good excuse for driving after drinking anymore. According to the chart below a blood alcohol level of .012 could be 6 - 12 oz. beers for a 170 pound man. You choose to drink that much then get in your vehicle and try to drive, it's your choice. What happens after that is your responsibility. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 7:04 a.m.

The first thing, this is a sad story..period, although very little detail is given of how this person was hit (were they biking, in the road, why were they in the road etc.) As sad as it is, I think anyone coming home after a night out with friends could have committed this crime. Even someone simply looking for something in the seat next to them could have caused a similar accident, another good reason why texting and driving is illegal now. I'm not sure how prosecution will be able to prove Warren was actually the one who hit the individual, as that will be the defense's main argument. As far as his bond is concerned, I'm sure he can't leave the state let alone his county of residence. A sad story that reminds us to be utmost careful when driving anywhere.

Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

If in fact it was Warren's vehicle that struck this guy at 34 to 42 MPH, there would be some evidence of this connecting the vehicle and the clothing or (as bad as it sounds) the blood of Lillie. Striking an object or person at that speed is going to leave damage and evidence on the vehicle. It's safe to assume it was impounded and swabbed for fibers and spatter. The defense may have an argument as to who was driving it.

Marilyn Wilkie

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

Polyjuce123, you can read what happened in the articles. He was walking. You said &quot; I think anyone coming home after a night out with friends could have committed this crime. &quot; I disagree, a person who is impaired by alcohol and driving a 2000 pound vehicle could have, but not someone who is unimpaired and watching for road hazards. Not all of us drink too much during a &quot;night with friends&quot; and then choose to drive home.

Old Salt

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:28 a.m.

Leaving the scene of an accident is a felony, drunk or sober period.

Merritt Lillie

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

If you followed the hearing, he came back to the scene, saw my uncle dead there in the ditch and then left the scene a second time. So yes, it is a valid felony.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 3:35 a.m.

Even if (as he claims) he was unaware he hit a person, thinking (or so he claims) that it was a deer?


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

&quot;Warren's blood alohol was .12 percent after the crash, above the .08 limit at which drivers are considered drunk in Michigan...&quot; Actually, drivers in Michigan are legally presumed to be &quot;intoxicated&quot; when they have a blood-alcohol contentl (BAC) of .10 but are presumed to be &quot;impaired&quot; when their BAC is at .08. Operating under the influence of liquor and operating while impaired are distinct criminal offenses under Michigan law. It is also considered a separate criminal violation to have an unlawful blood alcohol level (UBAL) while operaing a motor vehicle. The prosecution may have a difficult time proving the BAC at the time of the incident; a good criminal defense counsel would call an expert witness toxicologist to refute the reliability of the test results and dispute they could relate back from the time the Breathalyzer was administered and the accident itself. Anty test given more than one hour after the operation of the motor vehicle is usually suspect , more than two hours is usually considered unreliable, and three hours useless. This case is not a slam dunk for the County Prosecutor, on one hand, and the defendant, on the second hand, if convicted, could get a hefty prison term by Swartz, a former assistant prosecutor. A good case for both sides to negotiate a plea agreement.

Marilyn Wilkie

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 10:46 p.m.

I'm not sure this would qualify in swift justice for the defendant or the family. Five months is a long time.


Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 5:01 a.m.

Terribly sorry for your loss Merritt

Merritt Lillie

Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 2:17 a.m.

No Marilyn, it doesn't. We are going through pure hell right now, and that is putting it lightly. The court has been less than helpful as well. Disappointing to say the least. We have had enough hurt, we deserve better.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 10:46 p.m.

Why was my comment deleted? I re-read the conversation guidelines and my comment didn't do any of the things listed as reasons for deletion. I simply want to know why somebody who drives drunk and KILLS somebody gets the enjoy the holidays with friends and family, and doesn't have to sit in jail for 6 months until trial?

Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

Kyle, That is the exact reason for the Convictions in the Court of Public Opinion. The police thrive on newspapers reporting what they say, and in general (myself included) do convict just by reading a one sided story. I read catchy headlines myself. As much as I have a distrust for the police and what they say sometimes the evidence pointed out in the reports will convict someone in a newspaper. Therefore they release what they want the public to hear in order to publicly convict. Somewhere along the line a panel of jurors is going to be selected to hear his side of the story. I never stop wondering if one of them lied to get on that jury stating they never heard about the case in a newspaper report. I am not in any way attempting to mis-characterize your job. The person in charge of your operation would not hold on to anyone to long who couldn't come up with a story to report. The more readers the more advertising revenues. A one sided story is the way I read it. I have in the past pointed out that reporters only report what they are told when I see someone attempting to place a spin on a story. Newspapers are in it for a profit. is a private company if I am not mistaken.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

Chris - That is a completely unfair and mischaracterization of both my job and how I do my work. Would I like to talk to defendants about their cases so I can get their side of the story out? Absolutely. However, one of the first things that happens when a defendant hires a lawyer is that they are told by their attorney to not speak to the media. While we may be able to speak off the record about cases, I'm usually told &quot;No comment.&quot; We do not report what the police say in order to &quot;sell stories.&quot; We report what the police say because, often, they're the only people who are allowed to speak to us about crimes and give us details. In some cases we will be able to talk to witnesses or perhaps be on scene ourselves and give an eyewitness account. But, usually, police officers are the only ones who will speak to us about an incident.

Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

@Mike : The newspaper reports what &quot;The police said&quot;. They then sell and post online what &quot;The Police Said&quot;. The readers then read what &quot;The Police Said&quot;. The person who was charged with a crime is then shunned and presumed guilty by the readers due to what &quot;The police said&quot;. Although in a Court of Law the person charged is considered innocent until proven guilty, in the name of selling stories, the defendant is convicted upon the readers reading what &quot;The Police said&quot;. (The court of Public Opinion) That is really how it works. If you look deep into this, it's about making a profit. Whether it's through selling newspapers or the advertisers who pay the newspaper to advertise in it. With that said the victim of this alleged crime or alleged accident will never see his family on any holiday ever again.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

Because in America you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. It may be many years until he spends time with his family again. I believe in a similar situation you would like to be afforded the same treatment.


Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 12:18 a.m.

Absent being a demonstrable flight risk, he probably is free on bond since the judicial system considers him to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, not in the media. Like it or not, that's the way it works.