HOPKINS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD)— The driver who police said caused a deadly crash in Allegan County did not have a valid license.
Catherine Gertrude Bender, 45, was formally charged Monday with driving on a suspended license, causing death. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.
The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office said Bender was behind the wheel of a car that failed to stop at a stop sign on 130th Avenue and 22nd Street on Dec. 16. Investigators said Bender drove into the path of a southbound pickup truck.
The driver of that pickup truck, 58-year-old John Dolegowski, was thrown from the vehicle and later died from his injuries. Investigators said the Allegan area man was not wearing a seat belt.
Bender’s vehicle was on fire when firefighters arrived. Rescuers pulled her from the crumpled car and airlifted her to a nearby hospital.
Last month, authorities issued a warrant for the person who owns the car Bender was driving. That person will be charged with knowingly allowing a suspended person to operate causing death when they are arraigned on Jan. 25.