By Annette Christie
Practice safe driving during the holiday period; State Police focusing on seat belt use and drunk / drugged driving
During this Fourth of July holiday, the Michigan State Police (MSP) is reminding motorists to make safety a priority when driving. Again this year, troopers will join their counterparts from across the country in the international traffic safety initiative, Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts) to reduce or eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries. “Be the type of driver you want everyone else to be: courteous, sober and 100 percent committed to the task at hand,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “Celebrate responsibly this Fourth of July by arranging for a sober driver, wearing your seatbelt every trip and refraining from distractions while behind the wheel.” The official Fourth of July holiday period begins at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 3, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4. Last year, 14 fatal traffic crashes resulted in 14 deaths over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Operation C.A.R.E. began in 1977 as a collaborative effort between the MSP and the Indiana State Police, and is one of the nation’s longest-running traffic safety initiatives. It focuses on deterring the three main causes of highway fatalities: aggressive driving, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints. State police and highway patrol agencies from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Quebec Police Force and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be participating in this lifesaving traffic safety initiative. Operation C.A.R.E. also includes participation from police agencies affiliated with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
Alcohol plays part in a single car motor vehicle accident On July 1, 2018 at approximately 1:45 p.m., the Michigan State Police Post was dispatched to a single roll over motor vehicle accident on U.S. 131 Highway near the 46-mile marker in Alamo Township. Witness interviews on scene advised the driver of the vehicle was driving erratically, travelling in excess of the posted speed limit, swerving in and out of traffic, and passing vehicles on both shoulders of the roadway. While passing motorists, the driver left the travel portion of the roadway, hit the loose gravel and lost control. The vehicle then went into the ditch and rolled over multiple times ejecting the driver and trapping the front seat passenger. Passing motorists who witnessed the traffic accident stopped and were able to extricate the young male front seat passenger. Both occupants were later transported to Bronson Hospital for treatment. The young front seat passenger (9 years old) was wearing his seat belt. He is still in the hospital and sustained a severe concussion. He is still undergoing treatment as of July 2, 2018. The male driver, who was not wearing his seat belt, died from his injuries. Derick Allen Smith (29 years old) from Union City was pronounced dead yesterday afternoon at Bronson Hospital at 3:59 p.m. His preliminary blood alcohol content showed that he was twice the legal limit. Michigan State Police were assisted on scene by the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department, MSP Wayland Post, Oshtemo Twp. Fire Department, Alamo Fire Department, and Life Ambulance.
State Police encourages emergency preparedness when traveling for the holiday With Michigan residents and visitors traveling to holiday destinations for the Fourth of July, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is encouraging individuals to place an emergency preparedness kit in their vehicles. “The July Fourth holiday period is when many Michiganders travel and take extended vacations,” said Insp. Chris Bush, Asst. Commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “Whether you plan to travel within the state or across the nation, some preparation before you head out to a holiday destination could prove to be a lifesaver if a disaster strikes while you are away from home.” Before you leave for your trip: Know all weather-related emergencies and disasters that are common to your vacation destination and learn how weather warnings are communicated in that area; know safe shelter locations and evacuation routes at campgrounds, hotels or resorts; pack a travel-size emergency preparedness kit that includes water, snacks, first aid kit, and hand-crank flashlight and radio. Don’t forget to include prescription medications and baby formula, if needed. Develop an emergency communications plan for everyone traveling in your group. Make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency and designate an out-of-area emergency contact in case your group is separated. Download American Red Cross mobile apps to your smart phone. For more information, go to www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps. During your trip: Monitor the weather forecast along travel routes. Consider delaying the trip if severe weather is forecast. Have someone check on or take care of your pets in case severe weather or a disaster strikes while away. Always keep your vehicle’s fuel tank above half full. Power outages or severe weather may prevent you from refueling. Have a map and familiarize yourself with the area of your destination. Do not rely on cell phones or computers as your only navigation source. Keep a vehicle preparedness kit in your vehicle that includes a hand-crank radio, hand-crank flashlight, cell phone charger, blanket and extra clothes, tire repair kit and pump, flares, jumper cables and a “call police” or “help” sign.
Van Buren County Sheriff investigating rash of lake thefts The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a rash of larcenies from the inland lake areas. As of June 30, they are investigating numerous complaints. Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports that deputies have received numerous reports of marine batteries, fishing equipment, boat motors and kayaks that have been stolen within the last week. Deputies are reminding homeowners to secure their property and to report anything suspicious to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s office. Mobile phone users and online users can provide anonymous crime tips to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office by sending a text message to “CRIMES” (274637) with the keyword VBCTIP from a mobile phone. To submit an online tip, go to www.vbcsheriff.com and at the top of the homepage follow the directions to submit a tip.