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Utah woman charged after crash kills Michigan state trooper

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IONIA, Mich. — A Utah woman was charged with second-degree murder Monday after a state trooper died three weeks after a crash in western Michigan.

Trooper Caleb Starr’s death was announced Friday night. He was driving in Ionia County’s Boston Township on July 10 when a vehicle crossed the center line from the opposite direction and smashed into his patrol car, police said.

The other driver, Thomasina Jones, was charged with second-degree murder and other offenses related to drinking and driving. The 28-year-old is from the Four Corners region in southern Utah, but she had been staying in Ionia County.

Magistrate Judge David Wirth entered a not guilty plea on her behalf and ordered Jones to jail without bond. A prosecutor cited her lack of ties to the area, a history of drunken driving and the significant charges.

Jones’ blood-alcohol level after the crash was 0.23, nearly three times above the legal limit in Michigan, county prosecutor Kyle Butler said.

“The likely sentence in this case is going to be extreme,” Butler said.

Starr, 33, graduated from trooper school in spring 2019.

He was “not just a trooper but a husband, father and dedicated public servant who had so much left to give in a life that was cut far too short,” said Col. Joe Gasper, state police director.