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Competency Exam Ordered for Woman Charged in Fatal Crash

Attorney says Sarah Gaynor, 21, of Oak Park – who is charged in the death of Terrence Dyer of Detroit – suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

For a moment Tuesday morning in the lobby of in Berkley, defendant Sarah Gaynor stood alone, on crutches, next to the somber loved ones of Terrence Dyer, who was  at the age of 42.

The scene painted a stark portrait of the lives that have been forever changed by the collision near 12 Mile and Greenfield roads, in which 21-year-old Oak Park resident Gaynor is charged with second-degree murder.

The night of the accident, Gaynor's vehicle was traveling west on 12 Mile Road and struck Dyer's westbound vehicle, pushing it across Greenfield Road, where a third vehicle traveling eastbound also was hit, Deputy Director Robert North has said. Moments before that crash, he said, Gaynor also clipped a vehicle at 12 Mile and Coolidge Highway.

The third driver in the crash was hospitalized and released, BPS officials said.

Judge James Wittenberg on Tuesday ordered a competency hearing and pre-exam conference take place at 9 a.m. Sept. 6, or sooner if results of a mental competency and criminal responsibility forensic examination come back more quickly than anticipated. The decision came after defense attorney Randy C. Rodnick told the court that Gaynor has had prior hospitalizations for mental illness.

"She's had an extreme mental health background," he said, adding that Gaynor received in-patient and out-patient treatment at The Behavioral Center of Michigan in Warren last year.

Gaynor suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and during previous hospitalizations has been unable to afford the medication she needs to control her illnesses, Rodnick said. Attorney Brett Chudler, who represented Dyer's family, said he was not privy to Gaynor's background.

After her arraignment May 25, Berkley Public Safety Deputy Director Robert North said Gaynor also faces the following alternate charges:

  • count 2: reckless driving, causing death
  • count 3: operating while intoxicated causing death (while THC, a substance found in the cannabis plant, was in her body)
  • count 4: failure to stop at the scene of an accident.

Wittenberg on Tuesday ordered that bond previously set for Gaynor be continued. Gaynor is recovering from injuries suffered during the collision and appeared in court wearing a brace that supported her pelvis and upper right leg. The conditions of her bond include:

  • She can't leave home except for medical appointments or court appearances.
  • She must wear a GPS tether.
  • She can't drive.
  • She must submit to random drug and alcohol tests.
  • She can have no contact with Dyer's family.

Dyer's family declined comment Tuesday.

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