Gladstone man pleads in fatal accident case

ESCANABA – A Gladstone motorist who struck and killed a pedestrian on the Stonington Peninsula in 2012 pleaded in court Tuesday, canceling a trial set for later this month.

Paul Leonard McCarty, 32, was driving a pickup truck in Bay de Noc Township on Sept. 27, 2012, when his vehicle struck Kenneth Rogus, 73, of downstate Oxford, who was taking a morning walk from his home on Stonington Point.

During Tuesday’s hearing in Delta County Circuit Court, McCarty pleaded no contest to driving on a suspended license and causing an accident with a serious injury – a five-year felony. He also pleaded no contest to a moving violation causing death, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

In exchange for the above no contest pleas, County Prosecutor Steve Parks agreed to dismiss one count of operating a motor vehicle while McCarty’s driver’s license was suspended causing death, which is a 15-year felony.

The plea agreement also included a delay of sentencing on the five-year felony, which means the charge would be dismissed if the defendant successfully completes his probation.

Because no contest pleas were entered by McCarty, the defendant allowed Circuit Court Judge Stephen Davis to use the police report to help determine what happened for sentencing purposes.

Reading from the Michigan State Police report, Davis said McCarty was driving east on New Wilsey Bay Road in Bay de Noc Township when his pickup struck Rogus who was walking east on the edge of the gravel road.

McCarty did not see Rogus when the accident occurred around 8 a.m., just as the sun was rising in the east sky, noted Davis, referring to the police report. Rogus died from his injuries.

Davis said the court concludes the defendant was driving recklessly and failed to observe what was in front of him, either through carelessness or negligence.

Following an intensive investigation into the 2012 accident, McCarty was arrested in June 2013. He posted a $2,000 cash bond and was released from police custody.

His sentencing is scheduled for April 8 in circuit court.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,