Taylor man charged in hit-and-run that killed Heights youth

By JAMES MITCHELL
and ZEINAB NAJM
Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR – A 35-year-old Taylor man was charged for his role in a hit-and-run that killed a Dearborn Heights teen.

Justin Robert Saum was charged by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy with four counts including driving on a suspended license while causing death and leaving the scene of an accident causing death.

Saum allegedly was driving a pickup truck when, about 7 p.m. Feb. 27, he struck a motor scooter driven by Austin McCumber, a 17-year-old Kennedy High School student, near the intersection of Joan and Harold streets in the city’s north end.

McCumber and a passenger, 17-year-old Truman High School student Marin Peter Jamie, were both transported to Beaumont Hospital — Dearborn. Jamie was released by Sunday; McCumber died from his injuries early Monday morning.

McCumber sustained multiple skull fractures, brain bleeds and swelling, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his family.

“Our family has held on for hope until early on the morning of March 1st when he passed away,” the page read. “Austin is incredibly loved, and has family flying in from all over the country to celebrate his life.”

Taylor Police Chief Mary Sclabassi said the tragic death seemed to have been the result of an unfortunate error.

“From all accounts the crash appears to be an accident,” Sclabassi said. “The boys disregarded the stop sign.”

Sclabassi said, however, Saum failed to stop at the scene of an accident. Saum had turned himself in to police on Monday and was held while the investigation continued.

McCumber’s parents said via social media that Austin’s passing would provide the gift of life for up to 40 patients through organ donation.

“Me and Austin’s mom are beginning the process (of) taking him off life support and starting the procedures for the gift of life,” his father, Jeff McCumber, wrote on Feb. 29. “Austin is going to touch a lot of people’s hearts, to give somebody else a brand new start.”

McCumber leaves his parents, Jeff McCumber and Lisa Schiffer; brothers JJ, Codi and Justin; and sister Justyne.

Donations to the family can be made through the GoFundMe account at www.gofundme.com/j2s95myk.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Maria Miller said Saum is expected to be arraigned Thursday in 23rd District Court on charges of driving with license suspended causing death, leaving the scene of an accident causing death, driving with license suspended causing serious injury and leaving the scene of a serious injury accident.

(James Mitchell can be reached at james.a.mitchell37@gmail.com. Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)

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