Former assistant prosecutor will stand trial for 5-year felony

Posted at 6:26 PM, Mar 03, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Former Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Joshua Kuiper is heading to trial on felony charges following an alleged drunk driving crash in mid-November.

The person injured by Kuiper, Daniel Empson, gave his first-hand account of his injuries. Also, one of his doctors talked about his shoulder injury.

Kuiper's council, Craig Haehnel, said he is "stunned" that they are heading to trial for a serious injury charge when a doctor said it was  minor injury in a preliminary hearing on Friday.

"It still doesn't feel 100 percent. I can still tell when I twist or pick something up that there's something wrong with it [his shoulder]," said Empson.

Months later, Empson is still trying to get back to normal after he had four staples in his head, a back injury, a fractured shoulder and a hip injury. One of Empson's doctors testified Friday talking about his injury as a minor one, but that it would still take him 6 months to a year to make a full recovery.

"I still haven't slept in a bed since it happened except for one or two nights, because my back would hurt when I sleep in a bed. I couldn't sleep on my right side because of my shoulder, and the left side because of my hip," said Empson.

The defense brought into question Empson's credibility insinuating his recollection might not be reliable. They asked him if Empson had been drinking that night. Empson admitted to drinking two beers. In addition, the defense asked Empson if he was enhancing his injuries for monetary gain. Empson denied that claim.

In the end, the judge ruled the 5-year-felony stands, and the case will head to trial.

"I am shocked he was bound over on serious impairment for body function. As a doctor testified this is a minor injury. It's a minor injury. This case has been media circus from day one," said Craig Haehnel.