04-02-2020 Police Reports

Police Reports

By Annette Christie

Bainbridge man seriously injured in single vehicle crash

Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Joshua Sutherland reports that a single-car accident on March 31, 2020 at 6:09 p.m. has caused a Bainbridge Township man to have serious injuries.

Deputies from the Sheriff’s Department responded to the area of Carmody Road west of M-140 for a single motor vehicle collision.

Upon arrival deputies found that a silver four-door Buick that was east bound on Carmody Road had run off the roadway and had a collision with two large trees and then came to rest in the ditch area on the south side of the roadway.

The driver of the Buick, 37-year-old William Belter was transported to Spectrum Lakeland Hospital Watervliet and then air lifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo for serious, possible life threatening injuries.

The collision remains under investigation by the Berrien County Accident Investigation Team. Assisting agencies at the scene included the Berrien County Sheriff Office Watervliet Township patrol, the Watervliet Fire Department, the Watervliet City Police Department, and Pride Care Ambulance Service.

Berrien County Law Enforcement gets COVID-19 guidance

Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic, after consulting on a conference call with a criminal division assistant Attorney General, issued guidance to local law enforcement on Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order, 2020-21, the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” directive.

Sepic has encouraged local law enforcement to demonstrate to the public the importance of order. He says the reasons and importance in light of the current situation with the coronavirus need not be restated. Sepic says it will be important for law enforcement to follow up on conduct they observe which may be in violation of the order as well as take complaints from the public.

Law enforcement is in a position to educate the public on the importance and the breadth of the order. While originally the Attorney General believed her office would be in the forefront of enforcement and prosecution of Executive Order violations, the order has created far too many questions from the public and local law enforcement for one agency to handle. Thus, local authorities will deal with enforcement and prosecution.

Sepic has advised local law enforcement the use of warnings will be preferred to accomplish compliance in the first instance. Citations under MCL 33.10, a 90-day/$500 misdemeanor should be issued for non-compliance for technical violations where warnings are ignored. If the situation is one that appears to have clear public health consequences, an order by law enforcement to cease and desist that is ignored could result in an arrest for resisting and obstruction of a police officer, a two-year felony. He says some agencies are already inspecting businesses and issuing warnings.

Not surprising, some businesses are specifically listed in the order as necessary to sustain and preserve life: health care and public health, law enforcement, public safety, and first responders, food and agriculture, energy, water and wastewater, transportation, and public works.

Some examples of businesses not specifically listed but may operate with a minimum number of workers who comply with social distance requirements: oil change shop, logging truck, fixing farm machinery, deliveries, medical marijuana stores, and the construction and repair of roads.

Businesses that cannot open to the public: residential construction, door to door sales, golf courses, landscaping nursery, florist, and pet stores.

Questions about enforcement of the order should be directed to local law enforcement agencies using non-emergency numbers.

The Governor’s office has provided one source of information that Sepic says is rather easy to read and make analogies to the situation in the frequently asked questions section of the Michigan.gov/coronavirus page.