The man charged with causing a crash last year in Oceola Township that killed five people entered a plea in court today.

22-year-old Matthew Jordan Carrier of Fenton pleaded no contest to 19 counts, including five counts each of second-degree murder and operating while intoxicated causing death. The charges arise out of a traffic crash at M-59 and Argentine Road on May 9th, 2017 that resulted in the deaths of five individuals and serious injury to two others. Investigators say Carrier ignored a stop sign as he traveled south on Argentine Road and smashed into a vehicle as it traveled eastbound on M-59. Two people in Carrier's car died. Three people in the other vehicle died, including a probation agent who had been honored at a Corrections Department banquet earlier that night.

Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt says the court made the decision to accept a no contest plea, which is treated the same as a guilty plea, because Carrier claimed a lack of memory due to his intoxication. He added that Carrier’s conduct “was outrageous and has caused unspeakable harm that will be felt for years. And it could have all been avoided by making the simple decision not to drink and drive.” Vailliencourt says his office did not offer any plea or sentencing agreement in exchange for the plea and that when Carrier is sentenced on October 12th, “the victims and their families will have the opportunity to explain to the court how this tragic and senseless act has affected them.”

State sentencing guidelines recommend a minimum prison sentence between 225 months (18.75 years) to 375 months (31.25 years) or potentially a life sentence. Vailliencourt says a final decision by Judge Hatty will await the preparation of a pre-sentence investigation and victim impact statements. (JK)