Swan Boat Club crash suspect Marshella Chidester's BAC was more than double legal limit

Marshella Chidester, the driver who crashed into the Swan Boat Club and killed two children in April, had a blood alcohol level more than double the legal limit in Michigan.

Chidester's BAC was .18 at the time of the April 20 crash at the Monroe County boat club, according to blood test results read in court Thursday.

Cameras from both outside and inside captured Chidester, 66, barreling through the building, where a children's birthday party was being held. The crash killed 8-year-old Alanah Phillips and 5-year-old Zayn Phillips and left more than a dozen other people hurt.


Photos of Swan Boat Club crash aftermath released; more victims join lawsuit

An attorney representing nine victims shared several photos showing the destruction inside the Swan Boat Club, left behind by Marshella Chidester – the woman who drove about 25 feet into the building and killed two kids.

Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy Steven Schmidt testified that Chidester failed several field sobriety tests. She was not able to count backward from 100, and she couldn't focus on his finger, but she was able to recite the alphabet. Schmidt testified that she couldn't maintain her balance and had watery, bloodshot eyes. He also said he could smell intoxicants on her.

After the crash, Chidester told deputies that she had drunk some wine earlier in the day. She also said that she has seizures and takes medication for the condition. 

"I thought I was driving up to the boat club, and evidently I was driving right into the building," she told a deputy while being questioned after the crash.

Marshella Chidester after the Swan Boat Club crash

Video from security cameras at Chidester's home, which is next to the club, showed her slowly walking out of her house and backing into another vehicle just before crashing into the building. 

During her arraignment in April, before the BAC was released, her attorney Bill Colovos argued that she was not drunk. According to Colovos, Chidester has been suffering from seizures since November, takes medication for the condition, and needed to stop driving for several months in the fall due to seizures.

In court Thursday, deputy bodycam video showed Chidester saying that she last had a seizure the month before the crash and was hospitalized for several days. 

Chidester was bound over for trial on all charges.

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