Bear Lake Crash: Accused Driver Enters Plea Before Emotional Sentencing

An emotional and packed courtroom Wednesday in Manistee County as a woman was sentenced nearly a year after deputies say she hit two construction workers, killing one of them.

Charlene Myers of Bear Lake was charged with a moving violation causing death and a moving violation causing serious injury.

Deputies say she was the driver behind the wheel during the crash last September in Bear Lake on U.S. 31.

The crash killed Andre Alvesteffer and seriously injured Damon Williamson.

Myers pleaded no contest to the charges Wednesday meaning she does not admit guilt but accepts the punishment.

A judge sentenced her to 14 days in jail and 180 days of house arrest.

Myers will also spend 2 years on probation and won’t be allowed to drive or apply for a license during that time.

“I am just so sorry. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of all of you and wish I could change what happened, and I pray every day for the strength for you and for me to get through this,” said Myers.

The attorney for Charlene Myers says she isn’t able to recall events of the crash in sufficient detail and that’s why they decided to agree to a no contest plea.

Both Andre and Damon’s families came to court Wednesday where they had the chance to speak directly to Myers before her sentencing.

A courtroom filled with pain and emotion still raw from a crash nearly a year ago.

That pain and emotion visible on the faces and in the words of the friends and family of Andre Alvesteffer and Damon Williamson.

Andre’s father Darrel says the crash has impacted the lives of dozens of people.

“Out of everything that happened there’s only been one positive thing, and you know what that one positive thing is Mrs. Myers, it’s that we didn’t have to bury any more young men in the process,” said Darrel.

Damon’s father, Kirk Williamson says their journey of healing is still far from over.

“Multiple surgeries, many sleepless nights, long hours of painful rehabilitation, 4 days in the hospital by the side of my son endless trips to the store,” said Kirk.

And Andre’s grandmother Phyllis said the charges are still frustrating, even with today’s sentencing.

“To me Andre’s life and losing him was a very serious crime. I didn’t want her to be manslaughter or something like that, but a felony would have made my heart feel a little better. To me Mrs. Myers is not the victim. We are,” said Phyllis.

We spoke to Andre’s family about the judge’s decision following the sentencing.

“We did the best we could do under the circumstances the judge had ruled to the best of his knowledge to the things he could do for the defendant,” said Andre’s mother Helen.

“To Mrs. Myers we’d like to say, we’d like to accept your apology but everyone else needs an apology first, because they’re just as important or more important than us,” said Darrel.