Driver accused of hitting, killing child had no license

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — The man accused of hitting and killing a  six-year-old girl on the streets of Muskegon Heights has never  had a license to drive, and it wasn’t the first time police caught him  behind the wheel.

Dakota Lee Welch, 19, was arrested shortly after allegedly hitting Taylor Davis,  causing the injuries that killed her late Sunday morning. Police say  the suspect drove away from the scene and was captured after a witness  followed him and helped police quickly locate him.

Davis’ devastated  family pleaded for justice in the case, suspecting that the incident  was not an accident — a theory Muskegon Heights police declined to  comment on Sunday evening.

Welch has a significant history of  driving violations. State records show he was caught driving without a  license at least eight times within the past three years. Half of the  incidents occurred within the past year. 

Because of the violations, his driver's license, albeit never issued, is also suspended.

Welch’s driving record lists violations as follows, according to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office:

  • May 12, 2016: Caught driving without a license in Muskegon.
  • June 27, 2016: Caught driving without a license in Muskegon.
  • Dec. 27, 2016: Caught driving without a license in Muskegon.
  • March 9, 2017: Caught driving without a license in Grand Haven.
  • Sept. 8, 2017: Caught driving without a license in Muskegon.
  • Sept. 27, 2017: Caught driving without a license and no proof of insurance in Muskegon.
  • Oct. 30, 2017: Caught driving without a license in Muskegon.
  • Jan. 2, 2018: Caught driving without a license in Hart.

As of Monday morning, Muskegon County prosecutors had not yet made a decision on what charges Welch will face.

“The  investigation has been ongoing since this happened,” Muskegon County  Chief Assistant Prosecutor Tim Maat told 24 Hour News 8.

He said  prosecutors would be meeting with detectives Monday morning. “I would  expect that those charges will be ready to be filed sometime before  noon.”

Maat said he expected the suspect would make a first court appearance sometime Monday afternoon.

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