Student being charged after first campus pedestrian death

By Kevin Teller

In the wake of the auto accident that occurred on Pioneer Drive on May 14, killing jogger and Rochester Hills resident Perry Badia, some questions have arisen concerning further information on the incident.

According to OUPD police chief Mark Gordon, there have been further developments in the information that is available now.

Joseph Rinehart, the driver in the accident, has been charged with a moving violation, causing death. This charge is classified as a one year misdemeanor, meaning that the longest duration of punishment for this charge alone is one year.

The charge that Rinehart currently faces was decided upon at his court arraignment on July 22. Rinehart’s next scheduled court appearance is September 14, which will act as a pre-trial meeting.

No new dates will be announced until the September appearance, as these are dates that are announced one step at a time.

OUPD has been the lead department working on the investigation overall. However, Chief Gordon credits the Auburn Hills and their traffic investigation unit for all of their help with that element of the research.

A unique piece of evidence that must be retrieved is the medical examiner’s report, particularly in cases such as this in which there has been a death.

Much of the other points of observation in this process is the analysis of skid marks left by the car’s tires, damage to the vehicle, and the medical examiner’s report, among other factors.

These pieces of evidence can then be entered into software that can help to simulate the accident itself as well as what happened directly before and after.

While these are useful tools to the agencies investigating the case, they can also be part of a very time-consuming process to gather and report on.

With this in mind, now is the optimal time for the investigators from both agencies to gather all information that they can on the case.

“[The evidence] is all packaged together and  sent to the prosecutor for consideration, and then they are the final governing entity that decides what charges are brought against the driver, if any,” Gordon said.

As mentioned above, there are a lot of factors to gather data upon and consider carefully. In fact, Gordon mentioned that investigations such as this one can take approximately a year until a final verdict and sentencing is reached.

The Oakland Post plans to continue updating this story as more developments occur, as it is so deeply tied to OU. The Oakland Post and OUPD also strongly recommend to pedestrians and bikers to learn all safety and traffic laws that apply.