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Posted on Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Woman faces drunken hit-and-run driving charge after bicyclist injured

By Lee Higgins

As Washtenaw County sheriff's court officer Joe LaFerier was driving home at dusk Tuesday, returning from a meeting at sheriff's department headquarters, he saw bicycle parts scattered in the southbound lane of Dixboro Road in Ann Arbor Township.

He immediately called 911, reporting that there was an accident, even though he didn't see a victim or any cars in the area.



"The frame of the bike was torn in half," he said. "It just didn't look right. That's why I decided to turn around."

As LaFerier turned and drove south on Dixboro, he saw an injured man laying on his back, attempting to get out of a ditch several feet from the road.

The man, later identified as 61-year-old William Pidgeon of Ann Arbor, was wearing a cracked bicycle helmet. He was bleeding from the nose and around his ear. He was using his feet, trying to push himself out of the ditch so someone would see him, LaFerier said. He told LaFerier his first name and said his neck was hurting.

LaFerier, who was off-duty, held Pidgeon's neck steady until an ambulance arrived.

"I kept saying, 'Take it easy Bill. Try to breathe."

Pidgeon was taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where his condition has improved from critical, nurses said Friday. LaFerier didn't learn until Wednesday morning that a woman was arrested in the case.

Investigators said 44-year-old Kimberly Morse of Ann Arbor was driving with a blood-alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit when she crashed into Pidgeon and left the scene. Deputies said a state trooper arrested her when she crashed again at US-23 and North Territorial Road.

Morse was arraigned Thursday at the Washtenaw County Jail on charges including failing to stop at an accident causing serious injury and operating while intoxicated second-offense.

County sheriff's Detective Katrina Bourdeau said in court that Pidgeon was on a ventilator in the intensive care unit and suffered multiple broken bones. She asked for a $250,000 cash bond.

Morse's attorney, Rick Convertino, said Morse has a 16-year-old son she has to support. Convertino said Morse's father could look after her and ensure she doesn't drive and appears in court. Convertino asked for a lesser bond.

Magistrate Thomas Truesdell said he considered Morse a danger to the community and set bond at $150,000 cash or surety. Morse is scheduled to return to court March 27 for a preliminary hearing.

LaFerier said he was fortunate to have found Pidgeon. LaFerier volunteers as the coordinator for the department's reserve deputy program and was driving home after meeting with reserve deputies.

"I think me being there, hopefully saved his life."

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

I agree with the comment her son made. She is a good person. Whose disease got the best of her. She had been working the program & had sobriety. She gave into her disease & made the poor choice of getting behind the wheel. We have all made poor choices before especially us alcoholics. What she needs is help with her disease. She feels remorse and wishes she had made better choices. My prays go out to the victim, William on a full & speedy recovery. They also go out to Morse & her family. May god help you through the rough road ahead.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

"Morse's attorney, Rick Convertino, said Morse has a 16-year-old son she has to support. Convertino said Morse's father could look after her and ensure she doesn't drive and appears in court. Convertino asked for a lesser bond." So, that's her defense? I guess if you follow this logic, single moms who have fathers to "look after them" should be cut slack when they commit crimes. Right. Let's base our justice system on marital status, parental status and whether or not you have kids. Where was her father when she drove drunk for the second time? And this time hit a bicyclist who was seriously injured, and left the scene of the accident. This woman should have thought about her 16 year old son when she drove the second time drunk, with an alcohol level 3 times the legal limit. I say she needs to have her license revoked and serve jail time. If consequences do not fit the crime, then criminals do not learn lessons. Keep the bond high. This woman is clearly a danger to society. Next time she drivs drunk might result in death. Laws need to reflect the seriousness of drunk driving.


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

Until we stop making excuses for drunks we will continue to see this kind of thing. They foist themselves on the rest of society, killing and maiming and making their loved ones lives miserable. No sympathy here for getting drunk and then driving a 2000 pound weapon. Anyone that continues to serve them and sees how drunk they are, including their friends, are just as guilty for anything that they may do.


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 5:04 a.m.

How did she get her license back after the first violation? I suspect the judicial system is letting people off.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

I agree.

Dog Guy

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 11:53 p.m.

In re Morse: She might develop empathy for bicyclists if a revoked driver's license were to make her one.

Soft Paw

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

Used to bike Dixboro Road in the 80s, but it's too dangerous now. Too narrow with too much fast traffic.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

You couldn't pay me to ride a bicycle down the side of Dixboro road. I'm not blaming the victim here but that is a very challenging area to ride a bicycle.

Ann English

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

A brush fire took place last week at Dixboro and Joy Roads, right where this accident took place. I know there's a long hill on Dixboro, both north and south of the Warren Road intersection. That would make it challenging to a bicyclist, a place to practice for the Tour de France.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

That officer is a true hero. He may very well have saved that man's life. The alleged perp was allegedly so drunk that she got into two accidents several miles apart. I have no respect for drunks. Drinking is one thing. Drinking until you're in a drunken stupor is another.

Ann English

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 11:40 p.m.

I remember another story of a motorist hitting a bicyclist, and debris indicated a certain color of a Ford Aspire ( I think Ford's the make), but the EMU student on the bike was killed in the late hours of the night. No police quickly found him, as William Pidgeon was, fortunately. Never did hear of the Aspire ever being found, but Morse's vehicle was, on the very same day.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

With all the cuts to police departments what are the odds of getting caught driving under the influence? If you don't get in a crash.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

I would love to see more bartenders cutting off more drunks but we need, as a society, to become so intolerant of drinking and driving that anyone observing excessive behavior in a bar will make sure the person doesn't have possession of car keys.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:55 a.m.

getmoney, banning alcohol worked so well last time. It only led to the creation of organized crime as we know it today.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

Good idea. Unfortunately, lots of drunks go and buy their alcohol at stores and can fill up on their own. No bar needed. It's totally irresponsible behavior in any case.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

People drink a lot of places beside bars and restaurants.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

Ban alcohol.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

Perhaps anyone drinking alcohol in a bar/restaurant/etc. should have to give the management custody of their keys under the condition that they not be returned to the customer unless s/he passes a Breathalyzer test before leaving the establishment. If they don't pass and want to, or have to, leave, the establishment could call them a cab (if the customer otherwise had no transportation home).


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

All I can say is stiff, stiff, stiffer penalties for drunk driving!!!!!

susan keyser

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 9:51 a.m.

holy moses, I put my full name on here, Im tired. OOPS Don't look..... I will Pray for you Bill. G nite.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

Until someone shows up at your door because they don't like something you said. It is simply unsafe and un wise to use your real name on the internet anymore. Sorry.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 9:01 a.m.

In the past, when an article featured a motorist injuring a cyclist, I've seen in some comments support the motorist and jeer the cyclist's "bad attitude" or for being "out of place, interfering with traffic." Possibly, this time, those deleted comments are the ones which formerly were allowed in the "name of debate." I'm glad over this - it possibly raises the hope of improvement. Of course court officer Joe LaFerier deserves credit and recognition. Would that we were all as observant and as capable as he is. BAC of .24? Isn't that in the category of "super drunk?" Just a public information statement: While .08 BAC will get you cited for DUI, if you're driving with a BAC of .02! - and you have a concealed pistol license and are also armed: you'll be cited for a new category of violation: "AUI" - Armed Under the Influence. I have a CPL and drive: but I never drink & drive or even appear in public if I've consumed one beer. I am in favor of this level of enforcement, too. I am saddened by what now faces the victim, William Pidgeon. It's probable that it will be a long recovery. As a fellow cyclist I say: best wishes to you, sir.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Tru, typically in A2 you see cyclists who will disobey about multiple traffic laws in a few seconds. It boggles the mind, honestly. But in this case, it's a man who was critically injured by (allegedly) a woman who was incredibly drunk, and who left the scene. That's a significantly different scenario from "bicyclist gets in the way, gets hit." or what I saw last week in "bicyclist waiting at intersection on sidewalk starts into intersection, going with traffic but in the oncoming lane, crosses median, merges into normal traffic, makes illegal right turn."


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 5:11 a.m.

My God. When will people ever learn. Sending blessings to Bill. Please keep us updated on his status. Big round of applause to the Good Samaritan who, quite possibly have saved this man's life. HE is a hero!


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 4:23 a.m.

OK why was my comment deleted? "- Off-topic comments - Personal attacks against private individuals - Insensitivity to victims of accidents or crimes - Presuming guilt on the part of persons accused of crimes* - Using tragedies to make a political point - Posting personal information about individuals - Racist, sexist and offensive language, including abbreviated or masked swearing - Posting in all capital letters, which is viewed as shouting - Breaking copyright law - Commercial postings and press releases. Non-commercial postings can be entered on the Community Wall." If you are suggesting that I was "presuming guilt on the accused," the police have arrested her and established that she WAS driving and WAS impaired. So even if she DIDn'T hit the victim, she is at least guilty of drunk driving, and that's ALL I pointed out., why do you hate free speech?


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

@lamusica, wow. Equipment never malfunction before? People never lie before? Lets gear the whole, both sides, of the story first.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

@LaMusica, I don't usually remember the details of most comments, but I think the one of yours that was deleted was pretty over the top in that, as I recall, you stated something to the effect of "Bury her under the jail." It may not be entirely accurate, but I think I have the gist of it. So, based on your defenses of your comment, were you proposing that she receive capital punishment and be buried under the jail (and I recognize the hyperbole) for drunk driving alone (for which, despite the publicized findings of law enforcement, she has not been found guilty, at least not yet)?


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

Only can speculate and presume - you need to remember that rule.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 5:29 a.m.

That is assuming that she is the guilty party. A judge and jury will make that judgment.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 5:19 a.m.

julie...the BAC of TRIPLE the legal limit PROVES she is guilty, at least of drunk driving.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 5:13 a.m.

Innocent until proven guilty. That's the law.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

"a blood-alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit" I wonder if there's a barkeep with some explaining to do? I hope the police learn exactly how this person got so drunk.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

That woman was the greatest role model in my life. Everyone falls in a bad place in their life and this was hers. Yes there is no excuse for what she did but just because of this dosent mean people have the right to call her scum. She is only human. Put yourself in her shoes.

susan keyser

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 9:48 a.m.

rgm, There are many live's changed. And no, She's not scum. My prayer's are for everyone. I'm a recovering alcoholic, Been to the jail here n there disorderly..This n that. Guilty of DUI, She will most likley become Introduced to A.A. And there a new journey starts. God has plan's for all of us. 12 step's are for anyone. Not just DUI people, alcholic's, over eaters anonomous to obsessive spelling perfectionist annonomous. Just for Tiny. Like my spelling tiny. um, Really though. Hold your head up high. Pray for everyone too, It work's. Im not a goodie goodie, But god is awsome, And Prayer is powerful. Peace.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 5:15 a.m.

This woman, whether she meant a lot to you or not, made the decision to drive drunk. (allegedly) Throw the book at her.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:58 a.m.

Her shoes? .24 blood alcohol and behind the wheel of a ton and a half of speeding steel! Please, as a second offense not many role models I can think of could ever have done such a thing.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

I don't see anyone calling Ms. Morse scum, as you say. I see people applauding Mr. LaFerier for saving the bicycle victim's life, and sending information out to MSP, so Ms. Morse could be apprehended for her alleged involvement in this accident.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

Good call Magistrate Truesdell. Let us hope as this defendant works her way up through the system that other decision makers agree.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 12:03 a.m.

What a fantastic job by the off duty officer. his instinct and common sense served him well and probably helped save a life. Well done!


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 11:40 p.m.

holy cow.. when did they increase the font to this comment section.. seems like could have at least given the whole report.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

I can read about 2 comments to a screen with the new font. Totally unnecessary for it to be that large.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

Evidently we don't know yet how they linked the accused to the bicycle hit and run? The story doesn't currently seem to say.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

She'll probably be convicted for it... but realistically there's no possible way to prove the case. If she hadn't had the second accident, maybe you can match up scratches and dents. But now her car is wrecked and there's no way to show "well, THESE came from hitting a bike earlier in the night!" so reasonable doubt is present and always will be.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

The A2Journal had this information: "Based on the debris, he said investigators were able to get a good idea of the color and model of the suspect's vehicle. Area police were alerted to this information, he said. State police troopers assisting the sheriff's office with the investigation detained the suspect at about 8:15 p.m. after she was involved in a second accident when she ran off the road into a ditch in the area of US-23 and North Territorial Road in Northfield. A trooper identified the suspect based off a description of the suspect's vehicle. Damage on the vehicle was consistent with information provided by the sheriff's office."


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 9:55 p.m.

& it's a second offense... any details of the first ?


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

What happened at the driver's second collision, when she finally came to the attention of the police? Were there injured in the second crash, too?


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

This woman, Morse, was the only one involved in the second accident. I read that in the A2Journal:


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

Lee,Lee,Lee. The man was LYING on his back, not Laying. Look it up!

Ann English

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

"Lying" is an "intransitive" verb, meaning it takes no direct objects. Other such verbs are GO, COME, FALL, DIE, BE BORN. "Laying" does take direct objects. Lay the pen onto the desk. This was a much better article than what appeared in the Sunday hard copy paper. I imagine a lot of people in "critical" condition can talk, with full use of their faculties. I used to think that "critical" condition always included unconsciousness. Has written about why the majority of respondents to a Daylight Saving Time article DO NOT like Daylight Saving Time? I'm sure it brings out more golfers and bicyclists than Standard Time does, but it also made it easier for LaFerier to see the crash victim. I'm glad it isn't another story about someone telling police about what had just happened to him, and then breathing his last.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

The fact that the victim could have lost his life makes it all the more important that the story be written clearly and unambiguously. Proper use of words should be important to all writers, especially in a story like this. I hope that uses a sort of spell/grammar check (underscoring with red or green). The error was not truly a grammatical error. It was using the wrong word in a sentence. Lie and lay are different verbs. That said, the writer could fix the error and everyone could move on. Mistakes happen, even to writers and English geeks...

Mike D.

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

Julies and Susan, a tragic event doesn't excuse bad grammar. People nearly die—and do die—every day. Given that, your line of reasoning would excuse all bad grammar all the time. Think about it. If there are really people in this country who believe proper grammar is OCD, it's no wonder we're losing our competitive edge. Innovate? We can't even spell!

susan keyser

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 9:23 a.m.

TINY....calm down, Everyone make's mistake's.... Are you here to check people'sspelling? A little OCD mabe lol


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 5:19 a.m.

You're concerned about grammar?! A man nearly lost his life. That's cold.

Tom Joad

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

She should have thought about her 16-year-old son before driving drunk. Today's amateur hour at all the careful on the road.

Terry Star21

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

LaFerier had great instincts and reacted very well - he obviously did save this man's life. I am grateful to know that people/officers like this are in my community to help others and myself. He should receive an honor for his involvement.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

This man is a hero. He went one step farther than many would have and perhaps saved a life. As for the woman who hit "alledgedly" ran him over ..I just hope she gets the full punishment for drinking herself into a stupor, despite having a sixteen year old son. He needs a better role model. As for her alleged victim, I hope he recovers fully._