University of Michigan student to undergo mental competency hearing in fatal crash
A University of Michigan student criminally charged with causing a crash on US-23 that killed an Algonac man has since been diagnosed with schizophrenia, his attorney said today.
Michael Ronald Kelly, 21, is charged with second-degree murder, operating while intoxicated causing death, manslaughter with a motor vehicle and operating with the presence of a controlled substance following the March 12 crash that killed 25-year-old Brandon Robert Rapp.
In Washtenaw County 14A District Court today, Kelly's lawyer requested a hearing to determine whether Kelly is competent to stand trial and to be held criminally responsible in the crash. A new hearing was scheduled for July 29.
Andrew Abood, Kelly's lawyer, said Kelly was admitted to the hospital and treated for mental illness for almost two months following the crash. He is on a number of prescribed drugs to treat his mental condition, Abood said.
In court, Kelly swayed erratically as he stood before the judge. While being led out of court by a deputy, he told his mother, who was sitting on a front courtroom bench, that he loved her.
Kelly was driving south on US-23 near Michigan Avenue in a Dodge Durango when it crossed the median shortly after 4 p.m. March 12 and went into northbound traffic, police said.
The Durango struck the rear driver’s side of a pickup truck, then hit a Chrysler Le Baron that Rapp was driving almost head-on, causing it to flip several times, police said. Rapp, who was wearing his seat belt, died at the scene. He was on his way home from work as a substitute teacher, a lawyer for the family said.
The driver of the pickup truck was not injured. Kelly was taken to a hospital.
Kelly is alleged to have been operating under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash, Abood said, adding the levels in his bloodstream suggested Kelly hadn't used marijuana for days or weeks.
U-M's online directory lists Kelly as an undergraduate in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.
Rapp's family and friends attended the hearing. They declined to comment afterward, but a lawyer for the family said they have filed a civil lawsuit in Washtenaw County Circuit Court.
That suit names Michael Kelly and his mother, Jamie Kelly, who owned the Durango, as negligent in Rapp's death. It requests damages and a jury trial. Jamie Kelly declined to comment following today's hearing.