07-04-19 Police Reports

Police Reports By Annette Christie I-94 accident calls for AirCare A 4-car accident on I-94 resulted into a need for AirCare due to the extent of the injuries for some of the individuals involved. The incident occurred on Monday, July 1 at approximately 11:00 a.m. in the westbound lanes of I-94 in Van Buren County. Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports that deputies were dispatched to the accident with multiple individuals entrapped in the vehicles and fuel leaking from one vehicle. The four vehicles involved were a 2016 Ford Transit Van out of Michigan with one occupant; a 2014 Subaru Crosstrek out of Michigan with four occupants; a 2015 Cadillac SRX out of Michigan with two occupants; a 2014 Chevy Equinox out of South Carolina with four occupants. Upon arrival, deputies immediately started rending first aid to two critical patients pinned in the Subaru, one of them in and out of consciousness. The Ford Van was overturned on its side and was blocking both lanes of traffic. The Subaru was in the ditch with severe front and rear end damage and the Cadillac had rear end damage. The fourth vehicle was found 100-plus yards away in the ditch stuck on a culvert. The only injuries were found to be located inside the Subaru. Based on the severity of the injuries AirCare was immediately put on standby and launched to the scene for transport, as well as the multiple agencies dispatched for assistance. Once Fire and EMS arrived on scene more life saving techniques were administered and extrication tools utilized. The 21-year-old male occupant in the Subaru was transported via AirCare to Bronson Methodist for further treatment and the 24-year-old female was taken by ambulance. The other two individuals in the Subaru, a 21-year-old female and a 23-year-old male, both of Kalamazoo, were listed in stable condition. Once all patients were treated and accounted for deputies continued to investigate the crash scene. The crash is still currently under investigation and is being reconstructed with the assistance of the Michigan State Police. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor. The following agencies assisted at the scene: Michigan State Police, Pokagon Tribal Police, Van Buren Emergency Medical Service; Life EMS; Lawrence Fire Department; and Hartford Fire Department.

Kayakers saved on Lake Michigan A pair of kayakers from Van Buren County found themselves needing emergency assistance after one of their kayaks began filling with water at approximately one mile off of the St. Joe South Pier in Lake Michigan. Lt. Fred Laesch with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Marine Division said that the call for help came in on Saturday, June 29 at approximately 6:39 p.m. One of the kayakers had a cell phone and was able to call 911. The Marine Division and the U.S. Coast Guard responded. The Berrien County Marine Unit located the adult kayakers off the south pier in a southwesterly direction. Both of the individuals were rescued and taken to the U.S. Coast Guard Station. Neither of the adult males needed medical treatment and they were released. The other agencies involved include the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department Road Patrol, Michigan State Police and the St. Joseph Public Safety Department.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Office of Highway Safety Planning and ninety-three (93) law enforcement agencies during the National “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which runs from July 1, 2019 thru July 14, 2019. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office will have extra deputies patrolling the roadways in Berrien County during this time period. The extra deputies will make it a priority to enforce “drunk and/or drugged driving” laws. This “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is about saving lives, not writing citations, which is why it is widely publicized. The extra enforcement is paid for with federal funds administered by the Office of Highway Safety Planning. Celebrate the Fourth of July safely and always remember “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”. If you plan on partying during this time period or any time period, arrange for a sober driver to get you home safely. Remember – if you’re impaired by any substance, you shouldn’t drive. Remember – If you feel different, you drive different. Remember – If you “Drive High” you could get a DUI (Driving while Impaired”. According to statistics provided by the Office of Highway Safety Planning, Michigan averages 18 traffic fatalities per year for the Fourth of July holiday. In 2018, there were seven traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July holiday with at least one crash involving alcohol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC’s) of .08 or higher. In 2017, one person was killed every 48 minutes by a drunk driver on our nation’s roads. Men are more likely than women to be driving drunk in fatal crashes. In 2017, 21 percent of males were drunk in these crashes, compared to 14 percent of females. Of the traffic fatalities in 2017 among children 14 and younger, 19 percent occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. According to statistics provided by the Michigan State Police there were 9,786 alcohol involved crashes with 315 alcohol-involved fatalities in 2018. There were 2,636 drug-involved crashes and 247 drug-involved fatalities statewide in 2018. The number of fatal crashes involving drivers testing positive for cannabinoid drugs have nearly doubled since 2013. Michigan law considers persons with a BAC of .08 or greater to be driving drunk, although motorists can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired. According to the NHTSA, laboratory and on-road research shows most drivers are significantly impaired at a BAC of .08 with regards to critical driving tasks such as braking, steering, lane changing, judgment, and divided attention. Michigan’s drunk driving law contains a zero-tolerance provision for drivers with certain illegal drugs in their system. Prosecutors do not have to prove the driver was impaired, just that they were driving with those drugs in their system. The same penalties for drunk driving will apply to those convicted under the zero-tolerance drug provisions.

State Police want drivers to make smart decisions The Michigan State Police (MSP) is reminding motorists to make safe driving a priority during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Troopers will be on the roads, joining 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. “Help make this holiday enjoyable for everyone who is using Michigan’s roads,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “We know that wearing a seatbelt can save your life; buckle up every single time and never get behind the wheel after drinking.” The official Fourth of July holiday period begins at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, July 3, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 5; however, troopers will continue this traffic safety focus through Sunday, July 7. Last year, six fatal traffic crashes resulted in seven deaths over the Fourth of July holiday.