Thursday, January 13, 2022

Romulus man faces second-degree murder charge in crash

The driver in a crash that killed a 17-year-old Allen Park woman in September has been charged with second degree murder, operating while intoxicated causing death and reckless driving causing death.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Robert Merritt, 56, of Romulus in connection with the Sept. 22, 2021 high-speed vehicle crash that killed Mia Howard, 17, and injured a 15-year-old girl, also of Allen Park.  

Romulus police officers were dispatched to the intersection of Middlebelt and Goddard roads at about 8:36 p.m. Sept. 22 in response to a reported vehicle crash, according to a prepared statement from Worthy's office.

Upon their arrival, officers were advised that Howard was trapped inside her vehicle and when medics arrived on scene she was pronounced dead. The 15-year-old victim and Merritt, the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash, were transported to a local hospital for treatment. Merritt turned himself in to authorities on Dec. 23, 2021. 

It is alleged that the defendant was intoxicated, driving northbound in the southbound lane of Middlebelt Road at a high rate of speed when he struck the victim's vehicle head-on, killing Howard and non-fatally injuring the 15-year-old victim. 

According to police reports, Merritt had a blood alcohol level of .14 at the time of the crash.

Due to the holiday, the defendant was arraigned on Dec. 24, 2021 in 36th District Court and given a $100,000 or 10 percent bond. If released on bond, he must wear a GPS and alcohol tether. The defendant is also not allowed to drive. 

His probable cause conference is scheduled for March 9, in 34th District Court before Judge Brian Oakley.