Jury acquits man in traffic death of state trooper

PONTIAC (AP) — A jury on Wednesday acquitted a Detroit-area man in the death of a Michigan State Police trooper who was riding a motorcycle when he was struck and dragged several miles by a trailer.

Charles Warren Jr. was charged with two felonies, including reckless driving causing death. But his attorney argued that Trooper Chad Wolf’s death simply was an awful accident that didn’t belong in court.

“This is not a case where we’re going to go around and pop bottles. A man lost his life,” Neil Rockind said after the verdict.

He called Wolf an “extraordinary man.”

Wolf, 38, was on duty riding a motorcycle in 2015 when he collided with a trailer near Interstate 75 in Oakland County’s Springfield Township. The trailer, with no lights on, was being pulled by Warren’s vehicle.

Warren, 71, didn’t testify at trial. But he told police at the time that he had heard a “loud bump” and believed he hit a pothole.

Wolf’s death stunned police. Hundreds of officers from around the country attended his funeral. A state police spokesman, Lt. Mike Shaw, said the verdict was disappointing.

“It doesn’t diminish anything that Chad did in his lifetime,” Shaw said. “He was a hero.”

Wolf was born in Geneseo, Illinois, and attended high school in Annawan, Illinois.