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Tickets issued in fatal accident



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January 11, 2006 - The driver involved in an accident resulting in the death of a Goodrich High School graduate last June was issued two tickets earlier this month in response to the accident.

Lapeer County Resident Bethany Watteny, 43, was west bound on Davison Road east of Lake Nepessing Road, when the GM Envoy she was driving struck former Goodrich High School student Theodore Petrill.

At approximately 5:45 p.m, Petrill, 26, was walking along the road with his fiancee, Emily Saylor, when he was hit from behind according to the Lapeer County Sheriff's report.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was started at the scene, said Lapeer County Sheriff Deputy Jennifer Bird, but Petrill was pronounced dead on arrival at Lapeer Regional Hospital. He was a 1997 graduate of Goodrich High School who played tennis and hockey.

Watteny was issued two tickets by Lapeer County Prosecutor chief assistant Mike Hodges -- one for careless driving and one for failure to yield. Both are civil infractions and carry a combined penalty of five points and a $200 fine.

No tickets were issued at the time of the accident.

Hodges said it can take as long as the 6 months that have passed since the accident to issue traffic tickets. He said Patrill's family played a role in Watteny being ticketed.

Petrill's sister, Laura Nick, 33, said after gathering as much information as possible about the accident her family contacted the Lapeer County Prosecutor's office to inquire as to why a ticket had not been issued.

While Nick said both she and her family understand what happened to be an accident, she does not feel it was one for which her brother was entirely at fault.

"It's not like my brother jumped into the road or anything," Nick said.

"If (Petrill) was 50 percent at fault he paid with his life. What's happening to this driver?

"Under her own admission she was not paying attention. She should at least pay for not paying attention."

Watteny was unavailable for comment and it is unknown if she plans to fight the tickets.

"(The tickets being issued is) better than nothing," Nick said.

"We weren't going to stop fighting and this has given our whole family some closure (by Wattney's) being held responsible."

Laurel covers Atlas Township and Goodrich.
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