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Mother of siblings killed in Michigan birthday party crash sues suspect, tavern

Michigan woman charged in deadly birthday party crash
Michigan woman charged in deadly birthday party crash 03:07

(CBS DETROIT) - The mother of two young siblings who were killed after a vehicle crashed into a Michigan boat club during a birthday party is suing the suspect, who is accused of drunk driving. 

Driver in Michigan birthday party crash that killed 2 kids charged with second-degree murder 21:56

Mariah Dodds is suing Marshella Chidester, 66, who police say is suspected to have been driving drunk when she allegedly crashed into the Swan Boat Club in Monroe County at about 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. 

Dodds and her three children were attending the birthday party when Chidester's SUV allegedly crashed through the wall

Two of her children, identified as 4-year-old Zayn and 8-year-old Alanah, were killed. The mother and her other child, identified as J.P., survived but are in critical condition.

"Hearts are broken. Two pieces of their heart are now gone and it is just really hard to process this kind of hurt," attorney Michael Jones said in a release on behalf of the family. "They need time to heal and request privacy during this difficult time," Jones said. "There is a long recovery ahead for both Mariah, J.P. and the family. Zayn and Alanah had smiles that filled the room. They were the most loving and kindhearted kids."

Woman, 66, suspected in crash that killed 2 kids at birthday party to be arraigned in Michigan 02:18

The lawsuit accuses Chidester, who was arraigned on Tuesday, of negligence. It claims she allegedly drove the vehicle intoxicated, operating it carelessly and failing to attempt to stop the vehicle. 

Verna's Tavern is also named in the lawsuit, where authorities say Chidester was a customer before the crash. The lawsuit accuses the tavern of gross negligence and carelessness because they failed to stop and/or refrain from serving Chidester alcohol, who was allegedly visibly intoxicated.

 Chidester was arraigned on two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of operating while intoxicated causing a death and four counts of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury.

Her bond was set at $1.5 million. She also was ordered not to leave the state of Michigan without the court's permission, no use of alcohol or any other controlled substances and she must wear a GPS tether. 

In addition, she must not purchase a firearm, operate a motor vehicle and forfeit her passport. 

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