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Former clerk cleared in accident, township sued

By Lisa Brody

Birmingham police and the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office have declined to file criminal charges against former Bloomfield Township Clerk Jan Roncelli, who was involved in a fatal pedestrian accident on Maple west of Coolidge in Birmingham on September 22, however the estate of the deceased has filed a civil lawsuit against Bloomfield Township.

On September 22, at 3:30 a.m., Birmingham police dispatch reported they received a 911 call from the driver, a female from Bloomfield Hills, who stated she hit a person while driving westbound on Maple. Roncelli told officers she passed through the intersection of Maple and Coolidge on a green light when she struck the pedestrian. Roncelli reported she was coming home from working at a family business.

Officers located a 30-year-old male from Birmingham who was laying in the roadway and succumbed to his injuries. Toxicology reports determined the man, Bradley Bauer, had a drug alcohol level of .34.

It was determined Roncelli did not have any drugs or alcohol in her system, and from accident recreation and the accident report, it is believed Bauer ran into the driver's side of Roncelli's vehicle as she passed through the intersection. Surveillance photographs from near the crash site indicate Roncelli's vehicle had been stopped at a red light at Maple and Coolidge and the light had just turned green when the accident occurred. It does not appear Bauer was in a crosswalk. Roncelli was not charged in the accident.

Roncelli, like other elected officials at the time and township department heads, was given a township-issued SUV, which she was driving at the time of the accident.

On December 29, a lawsuit was filed against Roncelli and Bloomfield Township in Oakland County Circuit Court on behalf of Karissa Duff, representing the estate of Bradley Bauer, by attorney Kevin Riddle of the Fieger Law firm. The lawsuit seeks in excess of $25,000 in damages to be determined and attorney fees, alleging gross negligence by Roncelli and saying the township should have known her driving practices, history and habits, and that by allowing her to drive a township vehicle “she would likely be involved in a traffic collision.” Roncelli does not have a history of traffic violations.

In the lawsuit, Bauer's estate alleges it believes Roncelli may have been driving at an excessive speed, ran a red light, and either did not see Bauer as he crossed Maple or was unable to stop in time.

The case has been assigned to Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren.


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