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Published: Saturday, 10/16/2010

Family mourns; driver accused in death faces extradition

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Reflecting on the moment brings Mr. Antoine happiness - a break from the gut-wrenching emptiness that took hold when he was informed that his wife of 34 years had been killed in a crash with a suspected drunken driver.

"It was the most perfect service that I can imagine," he said Friday of last week's celebration of life. "She made me so happy, I just love bragging about her. She made it easy."

Mrs. Antoine, 51, of Washington Township was killed Sept. 29 in a crash at Lewis Avenue and Smith Road in Bedford Township, as she was leaving her mother to meet her husband.

Charged was Scott L. Borkowski, 46, of 102 Warrington Rd., who was driving under a suspended license and had two drunken-driving charges pending at the time.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Mr. Borkowski was driving a pickup north on Lewis at a high speed at about 6:40 p.m. The truck collided nearly head on at the intersection with Mrs. Antoine's car, pushing it about 180 feet before both came to rest on the east shoulder of Lewis Avenue, north of Smith Road.

Mr. Borkowski is charged in Monroe County with manslaughter with a motor vehicle. He remains in the Lucas County jail in lieu of a $350,000 bond pending an extradition hearing next week.

If convicted in Michigan, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Seated in a wheelchair, Mr. Borkowski appeared in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Friday for a fugitive hearing. At the request of his attorney, Judge Stacy Cook set an extradition hearing for Wednesday.

Attorney Lorin Zaner, who is representing Mr. Borkowski in the Monroe County case, said that his client requires medical treatment that he hopes to continue receiving in Lucas County.

"I believe there's a better opportunity for him to be treated here," he said.

The charge is the fourth allegation against Mr. Borkowski involving drinking and driving.

In 2007, he entered a plea to failing to maintain physical control under the influence of alcohol. The charge was reduced from driving under the influence of alcohol and he was sentenced to one year probation, including three days in an intensive drunken-driving program.

Mr. Borkowski was arrested in October, 2008, for a second drunken-driving offense. The case remains pending in Toledo Municipal Court with a trial date set for Nov. 4.

On July 28, Mr. Borkowski was pulled over in Perrysburg Township on Dixie Highway near South Roachton Road for crossing the center lane.

He was arrested that night for drunken driving and driving under suspension. He is to appear Monday in Perrysburg Municipal Court for a pretrial.

Attorney John Thebes, who is representing Mr. Borkowski on the DUI charges, said that the cases likely will be placed on hold.

"The charges in Michigan are much more serious than what he faces here," he said.

Mr. Antoine did not appear in court Friday - nor does he intend to do so. Instead, he said he prefers to remember his vibrant wife and the love they shared and the last kiss he gave her that morning on his way to work.

A mother, grandmother, and avid boater, Mrs. Antoine was on her way to meet her husband at the yacht club where they were active members on the night that she was killed. He said it was hours later, when he was driving her probable path in an attempt to find her, that he saw a car mangled beyond recognition but with new tires like those they had.

"It wasn't her fault," Mr. Antoine said. "She was doing the right thing. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Mr. Antoine said it was just minutes after seeing the car that he was called by a sheriff's deputy. From him he learned that his grade-school sweetheart - the woman he had begun going steady with when he was 15 and with whom he had planned their children's names while circling a roller-skating rink as teens - had been killed.

"Apparently the guy has no respect for life, not only others but his, to do what he does," he said.

"They have to get him off the street," he added. "I'm not angry, I'm not mad. Of course, I'm hurt."

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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