Woman charged in deadly boat club crash released from jail on $1.5 million bond

Marshella Chidester
Posted at 4:11 PM, Apr 25, 2024

MONROE, Mich. (WXYZ) — The woman charged in the deadly crash at the Swan Boat Club in Berlin Township on Saturday has been released after posting bond, jail officials confirmed.

Bond for Marshella Chidester, 66, was set at $1.5 million. She was given conditions that included not operating a motor vehicle, substance abuse monitoring and a GPS tether.

Chidester crashed into the boat club on Saturday afternoon as it was hosting a child's birthday party.

VIDEO: Video shows vehicle right before deadly crash at Swan Boat Club

Video shows vehicle right before deadly crash into Monroe County building during birthday party

According to the sheriff's office, two siblings, 8-year-old Alanah Phillips and 4-year-old Zayn Phillips, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Ten other people, including Alanah and Zayn’s mother, were injured in the crash and hospitalized. One of the victims suffered minor injuries and sought treatment on his own. The other nine victims’ conditions varied from minor injuries to critical condition.

Chidester was arraigned Tuesday morning on eight charges, including two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of OWI causing death and four counts of OWI causing serious injury.

In court Tuesday, the judge allowed friends and family members of the victims to speak and emotions ran high.

During the arraignment, the prosecution asked for a $1.5 million bond and said that they have substantial evidence in the case and that the suspect had a substance abuse issue.

In arguing against the high bond, Chidester's attorney, Bill Colovos, said that Chidester has never had any traffic citations and that Chidester has a history of having seizures since last November, saying that it was an "epileptic-type seizure in her legs."

VIDEO: Hear from the aunt during the arraignment below:

FULL ARRAIGNMENT: Driver arraigned in Swan Boat Club crash that killed 2 kids, injured others

The arraignment was interrupted several times on Zoom by people watching.

“I had to see my deceased niece and nephew. I had to see their very last moment before her car was removed,” Alanah and Zayn’s aunt Raquel Smothers said. “I had to be the one to tell my sister her babies were gone when they removed her ventilator yesterday. She said 'How am I supposed to live without my babies?'”

VIDEO: Hear from the aunt during the arraignment below:

Aunt of 2 kids killed in Swan Boat Club crash speaks at the arraignment of suspect

Related: 'Very rare': Judge allows loved ones to address alleged boat club drunken driver

If you would like to help the family pay for funeral services, you can do so at the verified GoFundMe link here.

A GoFundMe has also been set up for one of the victims in the hospital. This page is also verified.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau at 734-240-7530.

Related: Restaurant hosts fundraiser for family of 2 siblings killed in Swan Boat Club crash