Flint Man Pleads Guilty to Two Violent Carjackings

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

FLINT – A Flint man pleaded guilty today to committing two carjackings—one where he held a gun to a woman’s head, and the other where he beat and kicked a woman causing her severe injuries.

United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced the plea today and was joined in the announcement by James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to court records, Darian Welch, 20, of Flint, Michigan, committed the carjackings on July 23, 2021, in Grand Blanc, and September 12, 2021, in Flint Township. In both cases, Welch targeted strangers who were at gas stations after midnight. In the first carjacking, Welch approached the victim as she was pumping gas into her car. He pulled out a loaded gun, pressed the muzzle against her temple, and demanded her keys. Welch then took the keys and drove off in the car. 

In the second carjacking, Welch approached the victim as she was about to leave the gas station in her car. He asked her for a ride to a local apartment complex not far away. She agreed to drop him off there. After the victim parked at the complex, Welch punched her in the face several times, yanked her out of the driver’s seat and threw her on the ground, and kicked her repeatedly. As a result, she suffered facial fractures and spent several days in the hospital recovering. After the assault, Welch drove off in the car. About an hour after the carjacking, Welch led the police on a high speed chase, lost control of the car, and slammed into a utility pole, knocking down power lines.

Welch faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years in prison with a maximum possible sentence of life in prison on the charge of brandishing a firearm while committing a carjacking. For the charge of carjacking that resulted in serious bodily injury, Welch faces a maximum of twenty-five years in prison.

“Citizens deserve to feel safe as they travel in their own communities,” stated U.S. Attorney Ison.  “My office will zealously prosecute those who use guns to terrorize people just trying to live their lives.”

“Carjacking investigations are a priority to the FBI because these crimes create an unacceptable risk of harm to innocent victims completing the ordinary tasks of daily life,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “We are proud to work alongside our law enforcement partners to investigate these cases and make our communities safer places.”

Sentencing is set for March 14, 2023.

The case was investigated by special agents of the FBI, the Grand Blanc Police Department, the Flint Township Police Department, the Flushing Police Department, the Mount Morris Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Blaine Longsworth.