05-04-2017 Police Reports

By Annette Christie

Coloma man in jail pending charges over another man’s death

 An altercation between an Eau Claire man and a Coloma man resulted in a death Monday night in Benton Charter Township.

Benton Township Police were dispatched to the corner of N. Benton Center Road and Red Arrow Highway on a call for a man who had been shot.  The call came in at approximately 7:38 p.m.  Officers located Nicholaus Kling, who had gunshot wounds to his chest.  Kling, 37, of Eau Claire was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police identified Derrick Bailey, 22, of Coloma as the person who shot Kling.  A witness statement to police advised that Kling had stopped the vehicle Bailey was the passenger in and a confrontation ensued, this lead to Kling being shot.

Bailey was lodged at the Berrien County Jail and was expected to be arraigned on Tuesday, however, it was delayed until Wednesday.  He faces the charges of murder and carrying a concealed weapon.

Benton Charter Township Police said the incident remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact the department at (269) 925-1135.

Watervliet man loses life in tragic I-94 accident

Several police agencies and emergency responders were dispatched to a three-vehicle accident on Friday, April 28, 2017 at approximately 1:47 p.m. on east bound I-94.

The accident occurred at the 37.2 mile marker in Coloma Township and involved two semi-tractor/trailers and a pick-up truck.

Regil Mattson, 55, of Watervliet, the driver of the pick-up was pronounced dead at the scene.  The drivers of the two semi trucks were not injured.

Further details of the accident including the cause have not been released.  The Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit responded and is investigating.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day results in pounds of drugs

The Michigan State Police (MSP)  partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other law enforcement agencies for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 29  providing a venue for citizens to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs.

The Niles post collected 19.1 pounds of prescription drugs during the event.  The total of all 30 MSP posts that participated in the event was 597.42 pounds in all.

Anyone who was not able to participate in the event can anonymously surrender their unused and unwanted medications for destruction at the Niles Law Enforcement Complex, 24 hours a day or at any other MSP post, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.  In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines, flushing them down the toilet to throwing them in the trash, both post potential safety and health hazards.

Former Coloma Township police officer has first day in court

Former Coloma Township Police Officer Kraig Mitchell, 33, of Kalamazoo waived his preliminary hearing last Thursday and is headed for trial.  Mitchell is charged with  four counts in relation to the theft of controlled substances under the possession or control of the department.

On January 10, 2017, then a patrolman with the Coloma Township Police Department, Mitchell was discovered to be in possession of a heroin/fentanyl mix and codeine tablets.

Relating to the heroin/fentanyl mix (schedule I and schedule II controlled substances, respectively), Mitchell is charged with taking that mixture from the scene of an overdose death he participated in investigating that day in Coloma Township. Later the same day, it is alleged that Mitchell was found to be in possession of pills containing codeine (a schedule III controlled substance). The pills were taken from the township’s MedReturn Box, a secure unit in place for citizens to deposit unused pills and medicine, while an inventory of the deposited drugs was being completed.

Mitchell is charged with tampering with evidence, a 10-year felony; obstruction of justice, a 5-year felony; one count of possession of a controlled substance, the heroin/fentanyl mix (schedule I and II), a 4-year felony; and one count of possession of a controlled substance, the codeine pills (schedule III), a 2-year felony.

Mitchell was in Berrien County Trial Court Judge Donna Howard’s courtroom on Thursday when he waived his hearing and was bound over for trial.

His lawyer, Donald Sappanos, told ABC-57 News that an offer had been made by the prosecutor and that he and his client will decide whether to take the offer or proceed with a trial.  Sappanos referred to some legal issues in the case, as perhaps a reason why his client would not want to take the deal.  Sappanos said that Mitchell would either have to plead guilty to counts 1 and 3 or 2 and 4. Regarding the legal issues, Sappanos stated that they could file some motions in court based on those issues which may give cause for a dismissal of the charges.  If they are successful, the case would be dropped. Sappanos commented that the prosecutor made it clear though that if they file the motions that the offer is off the table.

Michigan State Police investigated the incident once Coloma Township Police determined there was something that needed investigating.

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