Reckless festival driver arraigned in district court

The suspect in the reckless driving crash, which happened on Nautical Festival Wednesday, has been identified as Daniel L. Lewis. Here he is shown being taken into custody following the crash.
The suspect in the reckless driving crash, which happened on Nautical Festival Wednesday, has been identified as Daniel L. Lewis. Here he is shown being taken into custody following the crash.

Bond was set at $500,000 for Daniel L. Lewis, 52, of Erie. He is the subject who drove through Rogers City at a high rate of speed during the Nautical Festival, Aug. 3, before hitting a parked vehicle that was pushed into the Ferris wheel at the end of Erie Street.

Lewis was arraigned in 89th District Court Thursday (Aug. 18) in front of Judge Donald McLennan. He had been hospitalized in Alpena for two weeks, arriving back in Rogers City Wednesday.

Defense attorney Dan White said his client would be standing mute to the charges, including assault with the intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.

A preliminary examination was scheduled for Sept. 6 at 11 a.m.

Before bond was set, White asked Judge McLennan to consider bond restrictions to include the surrendering of his driver’s license, the monitoring of his progress with medications and the maintaining of treatment. White said his client was on the anti-depressant Zoloft when he raced along Erie Street.

Lewis is suffering from a bi-polar illness with “psychosis, including mania and delusions,” said McLennan, reading from a letter from an Alpena doctor.

Rogers City police officers prepare to take the driver of the Ford Escape into custody following a crash at near the Nautical City Festival's amusement rides. (Photos by Richard Lamb)
Rogers City police officers prepare to take the driver of the Ford Escape into custody following a crash at near the Nautical City Festival’s amusement rides. (Photos by Richard Lamb)

White said his client has “leveled off” since treatment and has been taken off of Zoloft. The attorney also informed the court that Lewis would pledge his $100,000 house as collateral to post bond, which was agreeable to the prosecution.<

/p>

Considering the issue of public safety, Judge McLennan said, “The court is going to need more than an assurance that you won’t get back behind the wheel, because I have no idea (based on the letter from the doctor) as to when you may again have impaired judgment as to place a community at risk. I don’t have that piece of information.

“Given the seriousness of the conduct here, I think it would be fair to set the bond at $500,000, cash or surety,” said Judge McLennan.

The judge advised White he could file a motion for a bond reduction. Lewis remained jailed as of Thursday afternoon.

(Further details regarding the Aug. 18 court proceeding will appear in next week’s edition of the Advance.)