Wayne County MI Nov 13 2016 It’s taken several weeks, but Woodhaven police said the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has brought charges against a man who was involved in a shoplifting incident that left an innocent woman dead.
Thomas Peterson, 36, has been charged with second-degree murder, reckless driving causing death, fleeing and eluding police and operating while impaired.
All are felonies and Peterson could face up to life in prison if convicted of the second-degree murder charge.
Arraignment on the charges is expected to take place in 33rd District Court, but the time has not yet been finalized.
Nicole Cutting, 27, of Trenton, died at about 5:30 p.m. Aug. 2 when her 2012 gold Chevrolet was struck by a black pickup truck driven by Peterson on Allen Road near Dix-Toledo Road in Brownstown Township.
The ordeal began when Peterson’s companion in the vehicle, Katie Michelle Chinavare, 33, stole merchandise from Meijer in Woodhaven and was taken into custody by loss prevention officers.
Peterson was waiting outside the store in his vehicle.
According to police, Chinavare broke free from store personnel and jumped in the car with Peterson.
According to Woodhaven Police Chief Vincent Price, after one of his officers spotted them, he tried to catch up to the vehicle, but Peterson fled and ended up running a stop sign and crashed into Cutting’s vehicle on Allen Road near Dix-Toledo Road in Brownstown, killing her.
Although Chinavare initiated the chain of events, she only was charged with shoplifting, a misdemeanor.
Detective Lt. Scott Fraczek said a person who commits a crime that ultimately results in someone’s death caused by a third person can sometimes be charged in connection with the death.
However, the initial crime has to be committed in commission of a felony.
In this case, while Chinavare did commit a crime, it was a misdemeanor.
She was charged with retail fraud and pleaded guilty Aug. 3 in 33rd District Court.
At the time of the crash, Peterson was a parole absconder and Chinavare had active warrants for her arrest.
Along with information from their own investigation, Woodhaven police have been waiting for results from other investigative reports, including a crash reconstruction analysis, to come back before presenting their warrant request to the prosecutor’s office.
Peterson has been in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections.