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Published: Saturday, 11/3/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Man guilty of causing car to crash, injuring 4

Michael Garczynski. Michael Garczynski.

BOWLING GREEN — A Toledo man pleaded guilty Friday to intentionally causing a car to veer into a water-filled ditch, trapping four people inside.

Michael Garczynski, 35, entered guilty pleas in Wood County Common Pleas Court to two counts of felonious assault and one count of endangering children. Judge Reeve Kelsey set sentencing for Jan. 7 and denied Garczynski’s request to be freed from the county jail until then.

Defense attorney Jeff Simpson said Garczynski had been in the jail since Feb. 1 and was prepared to comply with court orders to stay away from the victims or face further prosecution. Gwen Howe-Gebers, chief assistant Wood County prosecutor, said the victims were “still concerned about the defendant showing up.” She also said “issues with the defendant’s family” had occurred and officers had been unable to find him for a time after his indictment in December.

Garczynski was a passenger in a car driven by Andrea MacRitchie of Toledo on Nov. 17 when the two reportedly quarreled and he reached over and grabbed the steering wheel, causing the car to go into a water-filled ditch along State Rt. 199 in Perrysburg Township. Garczynski got out of the car but did not aid the others inside the vehicle, Ms. Howe-Gebers told the court. Police arrived and helped get Ms. MacRitchie and the others, Jodi Carter and two children, out of the car. All were injured.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors said they would ask the court to dismiss two more counts of felonious assault and one more count of endangering children.

Although Garczynski could face 16 years in prison, Ms. Howe-Gebers said she would seek four years and prosecutors would not oppose his request for release after three years.

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