An appeal has been denied for an Oceola Township man convicted of causing a crash that claimed the life of a Hamburg Township police sergeant.

56-year-old Steven Kelty was sentenced last year to serve a 15 to 30 year prison sentence following his conviction in Livingston County Circuit Court on charges of driving with a suspended license causing death and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, causing death. He appealed that sentence to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which Tuesday affirmed both his conviction and sentence.

Police say Kelty’s Chevrolet Trailblazer rammed into a motorcycle driven by Hamburg Police Sergeant Jim Sanderson as Kelty attempted to turn left from Latson Road onto Figurski Drive in Genoa Township in September of 2014.

Kelty, who had six prior convictions for drunk driving, challenged the prosecution’s references to two medications, Flexeril and Valium, that were in his system and their clinical effects. He also argued that his defense counsel was ineffective for failing to move to exclude mention of the presence of these medications and a THC metabolite in his system. He further maintained that the trial court abused its discretion by permitting an eyewitness, who was a former police officer, to testify about his opinion of the cause of the collision and that the trial court’s upward departure of his sentence was unreasonable. But the appeals panel concluded that Kelty had not identified any errors requiring reversal.

Kelty is serving his sentence at the Michigan Reformatory in Ionia County. The earliest he can be released is 2030. (JK)