MARQUETTE - A Gwinn man was arraigned this morning on two felony counts related to his alleged leaving the scene of a July 4 vehicle-pedestrian accident along South Front Street in Marquette, which resulted in the death of a Marquette woman and serious injury of her husband.
Luke Eugene Huotari, 30, was arraigned before Marquette County District Court Judge Roger Kangas on two counts of knowingly leaving the scene of an accident, which caused serious impairment of a bodily function or death. The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 4 p.m. July 23. Huotari, who was arrested Saturday after being interviewed by detectives from the Marquette City Police Department, has hired Marquette attorney Karl Numinen to represent him.
Luke Eugene Huotari, 30, of Gwinn was arraigned before Marquette County District Court Judge Roger Kangas today on two counts of knowingly leaving the scene of an accident, which caused serious impairment of a bodily function or death. The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. (Journal photo by John Pepin)
Bryan LaChapell, 39, and his wife Karin, 42, were struck near the intersection of South Front Street and Genesee Street as they walked to watch Marquette's Fourth of July fireworks display. Police said Karin LaChapell suffered serious injuries in the incident and she was pronounced dead at Marquette General Hospital. Hospital officials said Bryan LaChapell, who had been seriously hurt in the crash and was later listed in stable condition, was discharged to his home Friday.
Court records indicated Huotari was allegedly driving a white 2000 Honda CRV involved in the crash.
During the video link court hearing, Huotari sat with a Marquette County Sheriff's deputy in front of a camera at the jail. The link allowed the defendant to see the judge and the courtroom and conversation could be heard on both ends of the link.
Kangas read Huotari his Miranda right to remain silent. He then reiterated the terms of a bond, which was set previously. Huotari is being held on a $500,000 cash or surety bond on each of the counts. He asked Kangas if a bond reduction hearing could be scheduled.
Numinen, who was in the courtroom, said he would file a motion to request such a hearing later today.
A celebration of Karin LaChapell's life was scheduled to be held at 1 p.m. today at the Eastwood Apostolic Lutheran Church, located along Maas Street in Negaunee. Pastor Dale Niskanen will be officiating. Visitation will precede the service.
The Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home of Marquette is assisting the family.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is email@example.com.