Fatal accident: Gwinn man faces 6 felonies

ESCANABA – A Gwinn man, accused of being responsible for the deaths of an Escanaba couple this spring, was officially charged with six felonies in Delta County District Court on Monday.

Harley Davidson Durocher, 24, was driving a logging truck when he allegedly failed to stop at a red light in Gladstone, causing a three-vehicle accident on March 20. Thomas and Barbara Swift, both 73, died from injuries received in the crash.

During his arraignment Monday, Durocher was charged with two counts of operating a motor vehicle with the presence of a controlled substance (marijuana) causing death; two counts of reckless driving causing death; and two counts of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license causing death.

Each count is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Durocher remains lodged in the county jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond set by Judge Glenn Pearson.

Durocher is scheduled for a preliminary examination in district court on June 17. During a preliminary hearing, evidence is presented for the court to determine if crimes were committed and if the defendant may have committed those crimes.

According to Gladstone Public Safety, the investigating agency, Durocher was driving an L.J. Roberto Logging semi tractor-trailer north on U.S. 2 and 41/M-35 when he failed to stop at a red light at the intersection at South Hill Road.

The semi truck struck the Swift vehicle which was facing west and attempting to make a left turn onto the highway, according to the accident report.

Another vehicle, westbound on South Hill Road and driven by Joyce Scheriff, 72, of Gladstone, was on the right side of the Swift vehicle when the collision occurred at 8:21 p.m. Her vehicle was also involved in the crash.

Thomas Swift, a driver, was pronounced dead at the scene. Barbara Swift, his passenger, was transported by ambulance to OSF St. Francis Hospital then transferred to Marquette General Hospital where she died from her injuries four days later.

Scheriff was transported to OSF St. Francis Hospital where she was admitted for treatment and later released. Durocher was not injured in the accident, said police.

In the event that Durocher should post bond, conditions set by the judge Monday included the defendant undergoing random drug testing, not operating a motor vehicle, and not using or possessing a controlled substance.