Parents Plea For Justice


Tuesday, November 28th 2006, 7:16 pm
By: News On 6


An Owasso family pleads for justice for their dead son.

18-year-old Michael Phillips was killed in a car accident last summer. The driver who hit him was speeding and had been drinking. But he's only charged with a misdemeanor. Phillips' parents told News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims the possible punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

Debbie Phillips usually goes all out for the holidays, but this year decking the halls has been tough. Everything reminds her of her first born.

"My mom made all of the kids stockings, and I had to hang it up," Phillips said.

The only way the Phillips can see Michael's smile now is in pictures. The 18-year-old was on his way to sign up for the Marines with some friends, when he was killed in a car accident. Michael was hurt so badly; the funeral director didn't want to let his mother see his body.

“I got to see his left hand, and I knew it was him," said Phillips.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says David Olinghouse hit Michael Phillips and his friends going over 100 miles an hour. Troopers reported they found a bottle of sleep aids and a half-full bottle of liquor in Olinghouse's car.

For months, Debbie Phillips hasn't been able to put her son’s things away, wearing his class ring around her neck. The family expected Olinghouse would be prosecuted for manslaughter, but he's only been charged with a misdemeanor, and faces a maximum of one year in jail.

"This doesn’t indicate what he was responsible for, what he did," said Michael’s father Ed Phillips.

Olinghouse's blood alcohol level tested .05, the DA says a driver would need at least .06 to be considered impaired. The Phillips question that test because it was taken three hours after the accident.

"I mean .01 percent and three hours, the delay, its there; its there," Debbie Phillips said.

This mother says last summer she lost her son, and this Christmas she feels like she's losing her fight for justice.

"Somewhere along the way we need to remember that this is about him too, it is," Philips said.

The News on 6 talked to the Washington County DA handling the Phillip's case. He said he worked very hard to find the correct charge, and negligent homicide was all he could do, because the tests show David Olinghouse wasn't legally drunk.

Olinghouse's next court date is Friday. We left a message for his lawyer, but he did not return our call.