ESCANABA - A Garden man is scheduled to go to trial later this year for allegedly striking and seriously injuring an ice fisherman with a snowmobile last winter. The defense's decision to go to trial, rather than make a plea, was reached Thursday.
Douglas Duane Barbeau, 27, will appear in Delta County Circuit Court for a three-day trial Dec. 18-20. He is accused of purposely running his snowmobile into Parker Bambenek, 21, of Marquette, while he was ice fishing on Garden Bay on Jan. 28.
Barbeau faces two felonies: assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, a 10-year felony; and failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing serious impairment or death, a five-year felony.
Bambenek testified in district court in July that he was ice fishing with his girlfriend when the snowmobiler drove over one of his tip-ups set up on the ice about 40 feet from his ice shack; when Bambenek yelled, the snowmobiler turned around and accelerated, struck him and fled the scene. Bambenek suffered two broken legs.
Further witness testimony presented during the district court preliminary hearing in July lead the court to believe Barbeau was driving the snowmobile and Barbeau's girlfriend was a passenger.
Following the assault, two passersby on the ice assisted in driving Bambenek and his girlfriend to a local gas station where police and an ambulance had been dispatched. Bambenek was taken to Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital then transferred to Marquette General Hospital where he was admitted for three days.
Bambenek testified in July that he used a wheelchair, a walker, then a cane for four months before he could walk on his own. He cannot run and it is painful for him to walk every day, he told the court.
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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, firstname.lastname@example.org