Michigan birthday party crash: Police release mugshot of suspected drunken driver accused of killing 2 kids

Siblings Alanah Phillips, 8, and Zayn Phillips, 5, were killed while celebrating at a birthday party

Two children dead after suspected drunk driver crashes into birthday party

Fox News correspondent Christina Coleman has the latest on the tragic story from Berlin Township, Michigan on 'Fox News Live.'

Michigan authorities have released the name and mugshot of the suspect who police say crashed a car into a boat club on Saturday, killing two children and injuring nearly a dozen others.

Newport resident Marshella Marie Chidester, 66, was charged with two counts of second-degree homicide on Tuesday, according to a press release from the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. She was also charged with two counts of operating while intoxicated causing death, and four counts of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury.

On Saturday afternoon, authorities received reports of a driver plowing into the Swan Boat Club in Berlin Township. A birthday party was happening in the building at the time of the crash.

The car plunged 25 feet into the boat club, killing Alanah Phillips, 8, and Zayn Phillips, 5. The two were siblings.


Marshella Marie Chidester mugshot and still of emergency vehicles at scene

Marshella Marie Chidester, 66, was charged Tuesday with two counts of second-degree murder in the Swan Boat Club car crash in Berlin Township, Mich. (Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney's Office / FOX 2 Detroit)

Nine people were seriously injured and transported to local hospitals for treatment. Authorities announced yesterday that a 31-year-old woman and 11-year-old boy are both being treated for critical injuries — two victims that have been identified as the Phillips' mother and brother, according to the children's aunt.

Authorities also said that a 16-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy, and an 18-year-old woman are all in "serious" condition and are currently receiving treatment.

Four women between the ages of 57 and 70 were taken to hospitals for minor injuries, and a tenth injured person found treatment on his own.

At a press conference hours after the tragedy occurred, Monroe County Sheriff Troy Goodnough teared up as he described the horrific scene.

"The scene was just described by the first responders as extremely chaotic, with a high level of emotions of those directly involved and those who witnessed this horrific incident," he said.


Car driving recklessly on road

Disturbing footage shows the brief moments before the intoxicated driver hit Swan Boat Club on Saturday in Michigan. (Paul Schmidt)

"The Sheriff's Office continues to investigate this incident to ensure we have identified all of those who were injured or witnessed this incident," the sheriff's office said in a press release on Monday. "We will update the public as more information is developed."

According to officials, Chidester's murder charges carry a maximum punishment of life in prison. She could face a maximum of 15 years in prison for each driving while intoxicated and causing death charge, and a maximum of five years for the other charges. If convicted, Chidester's fines could be anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000.

After the incident, Chidester was transported to Monroe County Jail. She is being held on a bond of $1,500,000. Her next court appearances are booked for Apr. 30 and May 6.

Close-up shot of wrecked boat club

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office identified the two killed children as Alanah Phillips, 8, and Zayn Phillips, 4. (FOX 2 Detroit)

Anyone with information that may help investigators is urged to call the Monroe County Sheriff's Office at 734-240-7530.

Andrea Vacchiano is a breaking news writer for Fox News Digital and Fox Business. You can follow her on X at @andrea_vacch or send story tips to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Authored by Andrea Vacchiano via FoxNews April 23rd 2024