In the sixth paragraph it states that Ms. Kundrat was taking Prozac at the time of the "road rage" suicide attempt.
November 16, 2001
Kundrat to stay in jail until hearing
- Competency hearing tentatively set for Nov. 29 for woman who allegedly
drove car into Old Depot
By DAN SANDERSON
Record-Eagle staff writer
GAYLORD - Cynthia Louise Kundrat will remain in jail while she awaits a
hearing to determine whether she is competent to stand trial on charges that
she killed two people when she rammed her car into a Johannesburg restaurant
four months ago.
District Judge Patricia Morse denied a request Thursday from Kundrat's
attorney to have her moved from the Otsego County Jail to a mental health
facility because she is suicidal.
Authorities have never released a motive for the crash. But in a
statement to state police after the accident, Kundrat said she was trying to
She told police she was driving at 60 to 70 mph and steered the car
between parked vehicles to hit the front door of restaurant.
"I figured if I ran into the building, my car would just crunch up and
I would die," Kundrat said in a taped statement to police.
Kundrat said she was depressed after she was fired from her job at a
Gaylord gas station weeks before the accident. She was taking Prozac
prescribed by a family doctor and had tried to drown herself in Big Lake
about a month prior to the accident.
State police said Kundrat raced around the curve on M-32 in
Johannesburg around noon on July 29 and rammed her car through the front of
the Old Depot Restaurant. Teagan Ferlaak, 4, of Gaylord, and Margaret
Koronka, 29, of Johannesburg, died from injuries sustained in the accident.
Eight others were injured in the crash.
Defense attorney Robert Carey said Kundrat has tried to commit suicide
every day in jail.
"There is no doubt in my mind that she is mentally ill and a person
that requires treatment," Carey said. "Being shackled in a cell in not the
way to handle it."
Kundrat faces eight felony charges, including two counts of
manslaughter with a motor vehicle, which is punishable by up to 15 years in
Prosecutor Kevin Hesselink argued that Carey should have petitioned in
probate court to have Kundrat placed in a mental health facility. Two doctors
would then have to exam Kundrat, he said.
"I don't know how the court can, or why it should, get involved in that
process," he said.
Hesselink said Kundrat is being observed at the county jail and has
access to treatment through Community Mental Health.
Carey said he believed the court has jurisdiction over Kundrat and that
she should be placed in mental health facility because of reports from the
sheriff's department and her husband, Patrick Kundrat, that she is
"deteriorating and in the worst shape she has ever been."
Kundrat has been voluntarily admitted and released from two mental
health facilities - Pointe East in Alpena and Lockwood MacDonald Hospital in
Petoskey. A competency hearing tentatively has been set for Nov. 29, pending
receipt of the results of a forensic evaluation to determine if she is
competent to stand trial and understands the criminal charges against her.
In denying Carey's request to lower Kundrat's $10,000 bond so that she
could be move, Morse said she didn't know what good it would do to have
Kundrat evaluated for a fourth time.
"Jail may not be the most comfortable place for her, but she is in a
secure environment and she is not able to hurt herself or another person
where she is currently being housed," Morse said.
Dressed in a orange jail shorts and top and wearing socks with no shoes
or sandals, Kundrat sat in court with her hands handcuffed to a chain around
her waste. She asked Morse if she could say something at the end of the
hearing, but she was told to speak through her attorney.
Send questions and comments to: email@example.com
Copyright © The Traverse City Record-Eagle. All rights reserved.