07-09-2020 Police Reports

Hartford man critically injured in July 4th shooting Van Buren County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to an incident on July 4, 2020 at approximately 7:09 p.m. in the 62000 block of 66th Avenue, in Hartford Township. Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports that Deputies responded on a report of a 34-year-old male shot in the stomach. When Deputies arrived on scene, they found the man lying on the porch with an apparent gunshot wound to his abdomen. First aid was administered to the victim. Air-Care was requested to respond to the scene to transport the victim to Bronson Methodist Hospital for further medical treatment. The Sheriff’s Office has since reported that he remains in critical condition following several surgeries. The suspect, a 37-year-old Hartford woman, was detained without incident. Estela Morales was transported and lodged at the Van Buren County Jail. She was formally arraigned in 7th West District Court in Van Buren County on the charge of assault with intent to commit murder. A 20-gauge shotgun was found at the scene. Her bond has been set at $1 million. The incident is still under investigation. The Van Buren County Detective Bureau, Hartford Police Department, Pokagon Tribal Police Department, Air-Care, and Pride Emergency Medical Services all assisted at the scene.

Group provides goodie bags to police officers in a show of support On Saturday, July 4th, organizers from the Back the Blue Encourage group provided gift bags to show support for law enforcement. Jackie Haney, one of the original organizers stated this all began from the tears of a mother. Haney works with a woman whose daughter works the midnight shift at a local police department. With the current negative climate surrounding law enforcement, her co-worker was worried and concerned for her daughter’s safety. Being a mother herself, Haney wanted to show her support for police and decided that the silent majority can no longer be silent. What began as a Facebook event asking for assistance to show support, quickly became bigger than she could have imagined. This attracted the attention of Dr. Robert Flood and others who donated to this cause. The group was able to deliver over 400 goodie bags to five police departments in the Michiana area over the holiday weekend. The goodie bags were filled with prepackaged drinks, chips, cookies, granola bars and other items. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office was one of the recipients of this kind gesture and each sworn officer received one of these goodie bags. Sheriff Paul Bailey appreciates the support showed to law enforcement and was on hand to receive the donation at the Sheriff Office. Bailey stated, “We are blessed to have this type of support from our community and it means a lot to the men and women that faithfully serve our communities during these difficult times.” Illinois woman loses life in motorcycle accident On Saturday, July 4, 2020 at approximately 6:45 p.m., first responders were sent to the intersection of Red Arrow Highway and Community Hall Road in New Buffalo Township for a car vs. motorcycle injury accident. Upon arrival, Berrien County Sheriff’s deputies found a female unresponsive lying on the road. Two passers-by were doctors and were already administering CPR. The female operator of the motorcycle was taken to Franciscan Hospital in Michigan City, Indiana where she was pronounced deceased by emergency room doctors. Investigators determined that a car going southbound, driven by Joyce Collins of Three Oaks, was slowing down to pull into Timothy’s Restaurant. The driver was going to pick up and take food away, pulling into the “pick-up” area. As Collins was making a left turn into the parking lot, she pulled directly into the path of the northbound motorcycle driven by Stacy Johnson, a 23-year-old female from Illinois. Johnson was the only occupant of the motorcycle and was not wearing a helmet. The driver of the car did not suffer any injuries.


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