A Thompsonville Michigan man was alledgedly drunk when he caused a car crash that killed Benzie High School teacher Katherine Wolterink. John Lee Burchett’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when he crossed the centerline on Cinder Road and crashed into Wolterink’s vehicle head on. Wolterink was trapped in her burning vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.
Burchett was charged with 3rd offense drunk driving, a felony here in Michigan. There has been no disclosure yet as to where Burchett had been over-served. The bar or liqour licensee that served him the alcohol would be liable to the Estate of Katherine Wolterink for the loss of her society and companionship, her lost wages and any conscious pain and suffering she endured. In Michigan, this is called a dram shop claim.