Fire destroys store owned by man who lost his family in a traffic crash

A fire Wednesday destroyed a suburban Detroit jewelry store owned by a man whose wife and two young sons were killed in a traffic crash, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press reported on their Web sites.

Firefighters in Novi, Mich., reportedly responded to an alarm shortly before 4:30 a.m. and found Gary Weinstein’s jewelry store engulfed in flames.

We are shocked by the news. … Gary is being comforted by his extended family, relatives and friends,” Barry LaKritz, a lawyer for Weinstein, reportedly said in a statement.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation, but the statement said there was no apparent connection between the traffic crash and the fire, the newspapers reports.

Thomas Wellinger, 49, of Farmington Hills is charged with three counts of second-degree murder in the May 3 crash. Judith Weinstein, 49, of Farmington Hills, and her sons Alexander, 12, and Samuel, 9, died.

Wellinger suffered a broken neck. On Monday, he was found competent to stand trial, the newspaper reports. He is being held in the Oakland County Jail and faces a Friday preliminary examination in 47th District Court in Farmington Hills.

Authorities reportedly said Wellinger’s speeding GMC Yukon Denali slammed into Weinstein’s 1999 Honda Accord about 3:30 p.m. as he drove east in the westbound lane of 12 Mile Road in Farmington Hills.

Police reportedly said he had a blood alcohol level of 0.43 percent, more than five times the 0.08 percent level that constitutes drunkenness under Michigan law. Wellinger also faces three counts of drinking and driving causing death.

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