Rothbury man sentenced to jail for pedestrian deaths.

December 29, 2020

Rothbury man sentenced to jail for pedestrian deaths.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.


HART — A 58-year-old Rothbury man was sentenced to 30 days in jail in 78th District Court this month in connection to the deaths of a 14-year-old Montague girl and her father the night of June 3, 2019 on Webster Road in Grant Township.

William Franklin Rudat, of 214 E. Yale Rd., pleaded “no contest” to two counts of moving violation causing death.

Rudat was driving a Country Dairy farm truck that hit and killed Kaitlynn and Eric Scott.

Kaitlynn Scott was pronounced dead at the scene, and Eric Scott later died from injuries sustained in the accident which occurred shortly before 10 p.m. west of 72nd Avenue. They were on a run with their dog, which also died. The tragic deaths sent shock waves around the Oceana community — particularly the Oceana County Fair community in which Kaitlynn was actively involved.

Moving violation causing death is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or $2,000 in fines, said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon.

The 1994 International farm truck went off the road and struck both pedestrians and the dog who were on the shoulder of the road, stated a Michigan State Police press release.

Rudat’s jail term was delayed due to COVID-19, so he will serve his term “as directed by the judge,” said Bizon.

“We understand the pain on all sides of this tragedy,” said Bizon. “The law is the law. We sought and obtained a conviction for the crimes committed, unconditionally. The sentence imposed by the court is consistent with state law. No outcome could ever undo the tragic loss of life.”

Why Rudat veered off the roadway remains unclear, although “falling asleep, texting or cell phone, and drugs/alcohol were all ruled out by the investigation,” said Bizon. “What we know is he left the lane of travel which would be the civil infraction underlying the criminal charge (ie — there must be a moving violation) and he was not far from the painted line — a matter of feet.”

Rudat was also ordered to one year probation and $1,525 in fines and costs by Judge H. Kevin Drake. His conviction is reportable to the Secretary of State.

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