Marcus Thornton pleads not guilty to multiple charges

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KENOSHA (WITI) -- 29-year-old Marcus Thornton pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, October 29th to multiple charges in connection with a traffic accident that resulted in the death of five-year-old Bailey McCollum. It also appears Thornton and the district attorney's office are negotiating a plea deal.

The crash occurred on the evening of October 8th as McCollum and his sister were leaving a nearby park.

The two-vehicle rollover crash occurred at 12th Street and 72nd Avenue in the Town of Somers around 6 p.m. Officials say Thornton was traveling north on 72nd Ave. when he disregarded a stop sign and struck a van traveling east on 12th Street. Thornton’s vehicle struck the vehicle McCollum was traveling in on the driver’s side toward the back.  McCollum’s vehicle spun and rolled over twice. Thornton appeared to be intoxicated.

Thornton is charged with:

  • Homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle
  • Injury by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle
  • Operating after revocation causing death
  • Operating after revocation causing great bodily harm
  • Operating while intoxicated 4th offense
  • 7 counts of bail jumping

Thornton also received citations for:

  • Operating after revocation
  • Failure to stop at a stop sign
  • Operating left of the center line
  • Open intoxicants in a motor vehicle

In court Tuesday, Thornton waived his right to a preliminary hearing. The court then found there was probable cause to bind Thornton over for trial -- and Thornton then entered his not guilty plea.

A criminal complaint says it is Thornton's fourth drunk driving episode. His license had been revoked. He was not to drink at all. A blood test given some time after the crash showed Thornton's blood alcohol level was .277 -- more than three times the legal limit.

Bailey McCollumBailey's 20-year-old sister was in court Tuesday with her family to watch the proceedings. She designed buttons in Bailey's memory -- his face smiling in the middle of a sunflower.

"We just want to thank the community our family and friends because they continued to support us through this and they are praying for us every day. And that's what's helping us through. At this time, that's all we wanted to say. We want to thank everyone for their prayers and thoughts and love," said Kirsten McCollum, Bailey's mother.

Thornton is expected back in court on Thursday, December 5th.

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