Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jul 2013
Source: Macomb Daily, The (MI)
Copyright: 2013 The Macomb Daily
Author: Jameson Cook
Page: A1


A 21-year-old Sterling Heights man was convicted Tuesday of driving
under the influence of marijuana and causing the death of his girlfriend.

Timothy Wilds likely faces time behind bars for the December 2010
crash in his hometown that killed Brittany Nowicki, 18, of Macomb
Township. The main charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

A jury deliberated about 2-1/2 hours Tuesday following a three-day
trial in front of Judge Mary Chrzanowski in Macomb County Circuit
Court in Mount Clemens.

He was scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 11.

Assistant Macomb Prosecutor Corey Newman only had to prove that Wilds
had marijuana in his system, and a Michigan State Police report showed
Wilds had two nonograms per milliliter of tetrahydrocannabinol,
marijuana's active ingredient, in his blood six hours after the crash.

"The evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that this defendant was
the cause of the victim's death and he had a schedule-one drug in his
system," Newman said. Marijuana is a schedule one drug.

Newman also tried to show that Wilds' driving was affected by the
marijuana even though he did not necessarily have to prove that. He
noted the "manner" of his driving and his poor judgment.

Wilds' defense attorney, James Maceroni, attacked the reliability of
the blood sample, contending human error could have occurred. He noted
the sample changed four hands at the Michigan State Police Crime Lab
and that scientists labeled sample containers using a "Sharpie" pen.

Maceroni presented Geoffrey French, head of the toxicology unit at the
lab, who began overseeing the crime lab after the crash. He said
controls on ensuring accurate accounting of samples needed improvement
when he arrived.

Wilds chose not to testify.

The crash occurred shortly before 6 a.m. Dec. 10, 2010, on three-laned
Plumbrook Road during snowy conditions while Wilds was driving Nowicki
to her home before he went to work. He passed a slower-moving
eastbound vehicle, lost control of his Jeep Wrangler and crashed into
an oncoming vehicle. Nowicki, who was not wearing a seat belt, was
thrown and died from massive head injuries.

Wilds was crying and performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on
Nowicki when others arrived on the crash scene.

Newman conceded that jurors could have been sympathetic toward Wilds
even though it goes against the law. He reminded jurors to refrain
from that.

"That was always a concern," Newman said. "It would be easy to have
sympathy in this case for the defendant and the defendant's family.
Sympathy is not something you're supposed to consider."

Nowicki's parents chose not to attend the trial "because it would have
been too difficult for them," Newman said.

"They are saddened not only because of Brittany Nowicki but for the
defendant and his family," he said.

Nowicki's aunts and uncles did attend, he said.

Several of Wilds' family members observed the trial.

The pair dated for three years. Nowicki graduated from Dakota High
School and was attending Central Michigan University.

Wilds, 19 at the time, graduated from Stevenson High School and was
working as a carpenter with his father.
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