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 formally charged Monday afternoon with operating a vehicle without a license causing death and failure to stop at the scene of a deadly crash.
Welch 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.
In court Monday, Welch denied trying to remove a license plate from the SUV suspected of hitting the girl. Welch said he hit a bike, but claimed there is no proof he hit Taylor.
"It has not been proven that I was the one who hit the little girl," he said. "I did, in fact, hit a bicycle. There is no blood," he said.
He also denied removing the license plate from the SUV he was driving, which a witness who followed Welch after the crash said he saw happen.
“He’s not even taking accountability,” Kimberly Purnell, a close family friend of the Davises, said after the arraignment.
“You admit to running over a bike, but not the baby? Kind of confusing to me,” she added. "I don’t think we have to fight hard. The evidence is there."
Prosecutors asked the judge to set Welch's bond at $250,000; the judge decided to double that.