Photo courtesy of Scott Davidson via Wikimedia Commons
One of the stranger stories to slip across the local news cycle started with an apparently routine OVI stop this fall in Crawford County. What law enforcement found behind the wheel was not only an eight months pregnant Lakewood woman, but the dead body of a 34-year-old Lakewood man in the seat next to her
. Now we've learned that Kristle Kendall has pleaded guilty to an OVI charge, while the investigation into Michael Collins Jr.'s death continues.
Court records indicate that the driver — Kendall — entered a guilty plea on November 30.
"The deal we worked out with our county prosecutor is that they agreed they would not file any felony charges against her if she pleaded guilty to the OVI," Kendall's attorney, Adam Stone, told us last week.
The details of the case — at least what we know now — are beyond bizarre. Kendall was reportedly
kidnapped by Collins, her best friend, while Collins was allegedly on a criminal tear. He was wanted in connection with a robbery at his own father's house in Lakewood, where he allegedly took a gun. Collins allegedly then robbed a gas station in Strongsville
, heading off on Interstate 71 afterward.
Hours later, law enforcement received a call that Collins was dead in a car, which was at that time tooling around Crawford County. It's unclear who made that call, or how Collins linked up with Kendall. When Ohio Highway Patrol pulled over the Jeep Liberty, Collins was found dead in the passenger seat. Kendall was behind the wheel.
Last week, Lt. Lawrence Firmi with the Ohio Highway Patrol told us the investigation into Collins' death was still open. He did, however, confirm that the shooting has been ruled a suicide. With the case file still open, Firmi couldn't offer up any more details.