Witness describes driver's demeanor after dragging trooper: 'Eerie, strange'

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Driver Charles Warren, Jr., left, Michigan State Police Trooper Chad Wolf.

Michigan State Trooper Chad Wolf killed in the line of duty when he was hit and dragged by a vehicle pulling a trailer.

Wolf was patrolling I-75 on his motorcycle in the early morning of Aug. 28 when he was hit by 69-year-old Charles Warren, Jr.

On Wednesday the man charged with the deadly crash is in court and we're hearing from people who witnessed the horrifying scene for the first time.

From the witness stand, Nurse Kathy O'Shea described the sparks coming from under Warren's car and trailer. She was commuting to work on  I-75 near Dixie Highway the early morning of Aug. 28.

"'Oh my God, what is he dragging?'" O'Shea said. "I looked over and flashed my brights. I pointed down and yelled, 'Fire fire!'"

But Warren was dragging the body of 38-year-old Michigan State Trooper Chad Wolf, who was hit and thrown from his motorcycle and under Warren's trailer.

During Warren's preliminary exam, witnesses described Warren's demeanor as he pulled into a rest stop roughly four miles after hitting Trooper Wolf.

"Strange, eerie," said witness Lashelle Lillard. "(He) was fixated with the trailer but didn't appear to notice a body."

Witnesses say they saw sparks and smelled burnt rubber. One woman says, before calling 911 she thought Wolf's body was a garbage bag.

"When we left he was like, that wasn't trash, that's a body," said Lillard.

Fellow officers also testified about discovering Wolf's motorcycle and trying to find their friend.

"I observed the trooper's prep laying on the shoulder," said Brent Hummel of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office. "A prep radio that we used to communicate on."

They also described their efforts to revive him. As they say Warren, stood by.

"When I pulled in he just appeared to be standing behind the car," said Phillip Parker of Michigan State Police.

Wolf died in the hospital later that day. Warren was charged with reckless driving and failure to stop at the scene of an accident. Warren's preliminary exam continues Feb. 24. He faces 15 years for each count.

His attorney said Wednesday that Warren had no idea he hit Wolf.

Attorney: "You would agree it was dark, right?"

"Yes," said Hummel.

Attorney: "It was actually pitch black."

"Prior to sunrise," Hummel said.

The defense also said that although Wolf was dragged roughly four miles, pulling into a rest stop like Warren did, was safer than pulling onto the side of the road. His attorney also argued that Warren was not speeding, or distracted - and remains remorseful.

"When his daughter told him it was an officer, he was emotional," said Lt. Twana Podell, Michigan State Police. "He sobbed."