Mother of victims sues Monroe County woman • Stellantis layoffs • Serial pooper in Dearborn

The mother of the two kids that died after a woman drove into a Monroe County boat club over the weekend sued both the suspect driver and the bar she was at before the deadly incident. 

Marshella Chidester, 66 of Newport, and Verna's Tavern were both named in a lawsuit filed by Mariah Dodds three days after the fatal crash at the Swan Boat Club in Berlin Township on the afternoon of April 20.

Dodds, a mother of three kids, suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and severe bruising due to the crash. She spent days on a ventilator before being taken off recently, her sister said in court on Tuesday.

Her 4-year-old son Zayn and 8-year-old daughter Alanah both died from the crash. Her third child, J.P., survived the crash, but remains hospitalized in critical care following surgery. 

The family is represented by Attorney Jon Marko and Michael Jones, which announced the suit in a news release Tuesday just prior to Chidester's arraignment. The defendant was charged with second-degree homicide and other drunk driving charges.

"This is any parent’s worst nightmare. Entire lives were devastated and will suffer from this loss forever. We will make sure those responsible are held accountable for this senseless tragedy. The family is forever grateful for the support of everyone. "Please continue to pray for comfort," Marko said in a news release. 


Drunk driving charges authorized in Swan Boat Club crash; lawyer says medical condition to blame

Alcohol, seizures, fleeing another crash scene – competing narratives about what led to a fatal crash at the Swan Boat Club emerged during the suspect's arraignment. Marshella Chidester is facing murder and drunk driving charges for the fatal Monroe County crash.

More Stellantis layoffs in Sterling Heights

Automaker Stellantis announced more layoffs among full-time workers at its assembly plant in Sterling Heights. The company wouldn't confirm the number of employees it was terminating, but didn't deny figures already reported - including by Automotive News which said 199 people had been laid off as of Monday. 

It's the latest in a string of terminations delivered by the company this year. In March, hundreds of white collar workers were laid off during a virtual call. The automaker said in a statement the move was necessary to "improve productivity and ensure" growth in a "rapidly changing global market."

"With a focus on preserving business fundamentals in a highly competitive and challenging U.S. automotive industry, Stellantis continues to take action to improve the efficiency of its manufacturing facilities. As a result of ongoing operational reviews, the Company will be implementing indefinite layoffs across its U.S. footprint over the coming months."

The Sterling Heights Assembly Plant employs thousands of union workers, where the company's flagship truck model, the Ram 1500, is built. The Associated Press reported earlier in April that Stellantis' sales were down nearly 10% following first-quarter reporting, despite sales across the industry bumping up 5.1%.


Stellantis announces more layoffs at Sterling Heights assembly plant

It's the latest in a string of terminations delivered by the company this year. In March, hundreds of white collar workers were laid off during a virtual call.

Serial pooper in Dearborn cemetery

Police have received seven reports of an individual pooping on various headstones at Northview Cemetery in Dearborn. The incidents have been taking place since Feb. 25, Dearborn police confirmed. The perpetrator has targeted a different grave each time. 

Police do not have a lead at this time, but are still working to identify and locate the person responsible. 

"Dearborn police have not submitted the stool for DNA testing," according to the department. "At this time, the (s)tate is prioritizing a backlog of evidence involved in more serious cases."

Late actor George Peppard, known for his roles in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "The A-Team," is buried at Northview Cemetary. However, his grave has not been targeted by the serial pooper.


Someone keeps pooping on headstones in Dearborn cemetery

Since Feb. 25, the perpetrator has targeted a different grave each time.

Metro Detroit ranked 13th worst for air pollution

The American Lung Association released its annual "State of the Air" report on Wednesday, scoring metro Detroit with the 13th worst area for air quality and particle pollution. Failing grades were given to the metropolitan area for both ozone levels and short-term pollution.

The report covers 2020-2022 air quality data and uses standards set by the EPA. 

Ozone is the pollutant that affects the most Americans - about 131 million people - and Detroit-Ann Arbor-Warren ranked 33rd worst. It's not the lowest ranking the region has found itself in, which is a sign of improvement.

However, particulate matter released by manufacturing plants yielded an F grade for Wayne County. The last time this report came out, the metro Detroit ranked as the 12th worst in the nation for particle pollution - a sign of slight improvement for the area. 

Police: Man shot at least 14 times during drug deal in Highland Park

A man was shot at least 14 times during a narcotics deal on Tuesday, according to Highland Park police.

The victim was shot off Farrand Park in Highland Park, and then managed to drive for half a mile into Detroit. 

Detroit police encountered the man around Rosedale Court and Oakland Avenue. He is currently in critical condition.

Police are still searching for a suspect who fled on foot.

NFL Draft in Detroit nears

The NFL Draft is just days away.

Headed downtown for the Draft? We've got you covered:

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

By late-April standards, Wednesday will be slightly on the chilly side. Rain will subside by morning, but we're looking at a freeze warning tonight ahead of the weekend warm-up that will grace us during the NFL Draft.

What else we're watching

  1. Warren police and Macomb County prosecutors will give an update on the accidental shooting of an 8-year-old Wednesday morning. The child shot themselves in the head after finding an unsecured gun. FOX 2 will stream the press conference at 10 a.m.
  2. This Michigan beach was named one of the 25 best in the U.S. by the vacation blog Travel and Leisure
  3. Public transit is growing in Southeast Michigan. The newest bus route offered by SMART will "revolutionize" transit, the operator said.
  4. The Federal Trade Commission voted to ban non-compete agreements in a major update to how businesses retain and hire employees. The move could invite some legal controversy.
  5. Stop if you've read this before: The NFL Draft is in Detroit. Just a day away, the finishing touches are being added to the venue. See updates here

Biden rule: Millions more salaried workers eligible for overtime pay

The Biden administration has introduced a significant regulation to extend overtime pay eligibility to a larger number of salaried employees in the U.S. This development represents the most substantial expansion of federal overtime provisions in many years. 

The rule mandates that salaried employees in specific executive, administrative, and professional positions earning under $43,888 annually must receive overtime pay from July 1, as stated by the Labor Department on Tuesday. This threshold is set to increase to $58,656 by early 2025.

"Too often, lower-paid salaried workers are doing the same job as their hourly counterparts but are spending more time away from their families for no additional pay. That is unacceptable," acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su said in a prepared statement.