MARQUETTE - A Gwinn man who allegedly left the scene of an accident July 4 on South Front Street in Marquette that killed a Marquette woman and seriously injured her husband, appeared in Marquette County District Court this morning to waive a preliminary examination.
Luke Eugene Huotari, 30, is charged with 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.
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 was pronounced dead at Marquette General Hospital. Bryan LaChapell, who had been seriously hurt in the crash and was later listed in stable condition, was discharged July 6.
Luke Eugene Huotari, 30, sits next to his attorney, right, Karl Numinen, of Marquette, reviews documents in Marquette County District Court this morning. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
After waiving the preliminary examination, Numinen argued for a lower bail to be set. Huotari's bail was set at $500,000 cash or surety on each of the counts during his arraignment in early July.
Huotari has been in Marquette County Jail since that time.
Numinen argued that Huotari's bail was set so high because he was believed to be a flight risk at his arraignment. Numinen said that was no longer an issue, and asked the court to reduce bond to a total of $100,000, a number he felt was more appropriate for what had taken place July 4.
"This was an accident," Numinen said. "What happened afterwards is a matter that will be addressed later on."
Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese did not oppose the reduction of bail, asking that a family member notify his office if Huotari broke the conditions of his bond.
Girard said, given the fact that Huotari was no longer believed to be a flight risk, he would reduce Huotari's bond to $100,000 cash surety for each count, and require Huotari to live with his father in Iron Mountain.
If he posted bond, Huotari would need to abstain from alcohol or other controlled substances and would have a curfew of 8 p.m.
If Huotari were to break the conditions of his bond he would be remanded back to jail.
Huotari is scheduled to appear in Marquette County Circuit Court for arraignment at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 17.