BENTONVILLE -- A Siloam Springs man pleaded not guilty Monday to charges accusing him of killing his stepson while driving drunk.
Michael Guest, 38, is charged with negligent homicide, endangering the welfare of a minor and driving while intoxicated. He appeared before Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren for his arraignment.
Guest faces up to 26 years in prison if convicted.
The Siloam Springs police and fire departments responded to a traffic accident at U.S. 412 and East Main Street around 10 p.m. on Jan. 3, according to court documents. The emergency responders found an overturned and submerged pickup in a pond and fountain area, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The responders found Guest, the boy's stepfather, outside of the pickup, and bystanders told officers a child was still inside, according to the affidavit. Guest was in the water crying hysterically, but not attempting to remove his stepson from the vehicle, according to the affidavit.
Members of the fire and police departments entered the water, turned the pickup on its side and removed the boy, according to court documents.
Tyler Levi Hammett, 11, was taken to Siloam Springs Regional Hospital and later to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Okla., where he died, according to the affidavit.
Guest was also taken to the Siloam Springs hospital, according to the affidavit. Sgt. Jed White with the Siloam Springs Police Department was at the scene and smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from Guest, White reported. White also overheard Guest telling a nurse he had drunk three or four alcoholic beverages, according to the affidavit.
Police say an investigation of the crash shows the vehicle didn't attempt to slow down before crashing into the pond's cinder blocks, according to the affidavit.
Police obtained a warrant and got a sample of Guest's blood, according to the affidavit.
Guest is accused of negligently causing his stepson's death by operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with a blood alcohol level in excess of 0.08, according to court documents.
Police also did a portable breath test on Guest three hours after the collision, and it showed his blood alcohol content was 0.06, according to the affidavit.
Guest was arrested and later released from custody on $75,000 bond.
He faces from five to 20 years in prison if convicted of negligent homicide and up to six years in prison if he's convicted of the endangering charge.
NW News on 02/12/2019
Print Headline: Siloam Springs man pleads not guilty in stepson's death