BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — A southern Michigan man has been ordered to stand trial in the carbon monoxide death of his girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter last March.
Harold Ward, of Battle Creek, was bound over for trial last week on charges of involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse in the death of Chloe Stevens.
Police say Ward, 45, was running an upholstery business and living in the back of the shop with his girlfriend, Sandee Confer, and her daughter. The building lost power, so Ward used a gas-powered generator in the building to power a kerosene heater but failed to properly vent the fumes.
A neighbor discovered all three unconscious and they were taken to a hospital. Ward and Sandee Confer recovered, but Chloe died the next day.
Prosecutors contend that Ward showed gross negligence even if he didn’t mean to cause anyone harm.
“There is enough information out there for people to know not to run a generator in an enclosed area,” said prosecutor David Gilbert. “It is not a question of if someone will be hurt, but when.”
Ward’s lawyer, John Vincent, said the death was an accident, not a crime.
“He is not responsible,” Vincent said. “He borrowed it and never operated it before and didn’t know how it worked. The generator was put into the garage portion of the building without instructions. He also almost died. If he knew what he was doing he would not have put himself at risk and everyone else. It’s a bogus charge.”
Ward is out of jail on a personal recognizance bond. A trial date hasn’t been set.