05/28/2024

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‘Find My Grandbabies’: Victim in Boat Club Birthday Party Crash Speaks Out

‘Find My Grandbabies’: Victim in Boat Club Birthday Party Crash Speaks Out

Diane Medina is still recovering from significant injuries she suffered earlier this month when a suspected drunk driver slammed into a Michigan boat club, where familiees were gathered for a 3-year-old’s circus-themed birthday party.

Two children, 8-year-old Alanah Phillips and 4-year-old Zayn Phillips, were killed in the horrific crash, and their mother filed a lawsuit against Marshella Chidester, the driver, two days later, as CrimeOnline reported.

The lawsuit also includes a tavern where Chidester was reportedly drinking before the crash.

Medina is a friend of Chidester, and she told the Detroit Free Press that she is angry at what happened.

“This isn’t the woman I know,” she said.

Medina said she met Chidester 10 years ago when she joined the Swan Boat Club, where the party was held, and that she taught bible school to kids and had even vacationed with her.

“The girl would not hurt a fly. She’s the most loving, caring, loyal, sweetest,” Medina said.

But something happened on April 20. With all the families gathered for the party, Medina, 57, said she thought the moment of the crash was a bomb going off. Then she saw food flying, then felt the crash itself as she was pushed across the room and ended up trapped beneath debris.

“Somebody’s gotta find my grandbabies,” she remembers saying through the pain. Her grandbabies were in the bounce house and safe. Not so for the two Phillips children and a dozen other people who were injured. Mariah Dodds, mother of the two children who were killed, and her 11-year-old son were severely injured and remain hospitalized. They were sitting at a table next to Medina, who had three breaks in her pelvis, a broken nose, internal bleeding, and a head injury.

Mariah Dodds and her children/Jon Marko

Chidester, 66, has been charged with eight counts, including two of second degree murder and two of driving while intoxicated causing death. Her attorney says that a medical issue caused the crash, not alcohol, but Monroe County Prosecutor Jeffery Yorkey has said that a preliminary alcohol breath test found Chidester to be “significantly over the legal limit.”

Chidester has been released on a $1.5 million bond.

Medina said she doesn’t hate Chidester but she’s “angry with what she has taken away from me” and especially Mariah Dodds.

“But I can’t wait to see her in court … I want her to see what she did to me,” Medina said. “I want her to see what she did to her friend.”

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[Featured image: Diane Medina/GoFundMe]