Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey and Lincoln Township Police Chief Gary Soper conducted a brief press conference this afternoon at the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center on East Empire Avenue regarding the burglary, police pursuit, and fatal crash early this morning, Sunday, April 15th, 2018. Here is what the Sheriff had to say:
“This is a tragic incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of the victims. This morning at about 5:11am, a neighbor of the Black Arsenal Gun Store called the Berrien County Public Safety Dispatch to report glass breaking. The caller was able to give a description of a gold, four-door, SUV that left the scene toward Red Arrow Highway.
The breaking & entering was confirmed by the alarm company contacting dispatchers and reporting an active alarm. Area police agencies were advised of the situation, and the vehicle description.
Lincoln Township Police arrived at the scene and were able to identify several long guns were missing from the gun store.
At around 5:26am a Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy observed a vehicle matching the description on I-94 Eastbound near the 27 mile marker. The deputy activated his emergency lights and a traffic stop was initiated. The suspect vehicle pulled over to the side of the roadway. After coming to a stop, the vehicle then sped off eastbound on I-94. The deputy then pursued the vehicle with his emergency lighting and sirens activated.
The pursuit continued eastbound on I-94 until the vehicle exited at M-139 and turned southbound toward Scottdale. The vehicle continued southbound on M-139 where it lost control north of Rockey Weed Road, and crashed into a large tree.
There were a total of four people in the SUV at the time of the crash. Three were pronounced dead at the scene and one was taken to Lakeland Hospital by Medic 1 Ambulance, where he is in critical condition.
The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office has requested the Michigan State Police to conduct an investigation into the crash. The Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reconstruction Team was activated along with the 5th District Special Investigation Section.
The names of the victims involved in this crash are being withheld pending notification of next of kin,
As a standard operating procedure, the deputies involved have been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation and a review by the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office. The names of the deputies will not be released until the investigation is completed.”
Following his comments, Sheriff Bailey played a two minute video of the attempted traffic stop and police pursuit as captured by the squad car dashcam. We hope to be able to share that with you here, shortly once it is provided by the police.
That video file proved to be too large to include in this story, however it is available on the Moody on the Market Facebook page at this link: https://www.facebook.com/MoodyOnTheMarket/. It can be found in the video section of that page.