Plea deal stallsPublished 9:43pm Monday, July 30, 2012
With plea negotiations at an impasse, Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz will dismiss misdemeanor charges and replace them with felony counts against a Niles woman.
Cecilia Cheney was involved in a fiery crash in October that killed four Indiana people and faced a penalty of one year and/or $2,000 fine for each count of moving violation causing death, formerly known as negligent homicide.
“We filed misdemeanor charges to resolve this case, but those negotiations have broken down,” Fitz said after a pretrial conference Monday morning prior to proceedings scheduled to start Tuesday before Fourth District Judge Stacey Rentfrow.
According to investigation by Michigan State Police’s Niles post, Cheney was traveling east on U.S. 12 east of Bell Road about 3:18 p.m. Oct. 9 when her vehicle crossed the centerline and collided head-on with another vehicle carrying a family.
Passengers killed in the other vehicle included Devin Stone, 1, of Mishawaka; Stacey Garza, 35, of Mishawaka; Curtis Stone, 50, of Mishawaka; and Kathleen Marks, 57, of South Bend.
“We’ll proceed from here,” Fitz said Monday afternoon, with new charges expected to be involuntary manslaughter.