Police and Fire Reports
By Annette Christie
Weighmaster involved in pursuit and crash in Berrien County
Berrien County Weighmaster Don Goulooze stopped a vehicle on County Line Road near 48th Avenue on July 11 at approximately 12:15 p.m. for disregarding a traffic control device. While having contact with the driver, the driver fled from the stop, dragging the officer along.
The weighmaster was able to free himself and he returned to the patrol vehicle. He pursued the suspect north on County Line Road. The weighmaster lost control of the patrol vehicle on 70th Street near 48th Avenue and ultimately it ran off the roadway and turned over.
The officer sustained injuries in the crash and was transported to the hospital where he was treated and released. He is expected to make a full recovery.
The suspect vehicle was located abandoned shortly afterward and it was learned the suspect had fled on foot into a wooded area in Van Buren County. A Berrien County K9 located the suspect hiding in the woods.
The Frank Allen Clay, 45 of Watervliet was arrested for fleeing and eluding, operating while intoxicated, 3rd offense, and driving with a suspended license, 2nd offense. Troopers were assisted by Van Buren and Berrien County Sheriff’s Departments, Watervliet Police Department, Covert Police Department, and the Pokagon Tribal Police. Clay is lodged in the Berrien County Jail.
Farming accident leads to Med Flight transport
The Watervliet Fire Department was requested to respond to a call on Saturday afternoon, for a report of a 67-year-old man pinned beneath a rolled over farm tractor in Bainbridge Township. Assistance was provided to lift the tractor enough in order to get the man out.
Pride Care Ambulance Service provided patient care and assessment and determined that a helicopter was needed for patient transport. The Watervliet Fire Department along with the Sister Lakes Fire Department provided a landing zone in an adjacent field. Prior to the helicopters arrival, Berrien County Medical Control Director Dr. J. Beyer arrived on scene and assisted with patient care.
Upon landing the helicopter, the patient was swiftly transferred and then transported to South Bend Memorial Hospital.
Watervliet Fire Chief Dan Jones commends the “seamless multi-agency interoperability, cooperation, and communications that provided for a positive outcome to this difficult situation.”
Besides the agencies previously named, the following also took part in the incident, the Michigan State Police, Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Watervliet Police Department, Pokagon Tribal Police, the Berrien County Dispatch Center, and the Med Flight Helicopter crew.
Police seek help in solving B & E’s
The Watervliet Police Department is requesting assistance from anyone who may have information regarding approximately 12 larcenies from motor vehicles that occurred over the weekend during the night. All of the vehicles involved were unlocked and no damage to the vehicles was reported.
Police Chief Tim Sutherland states that several vehicles were entered by unknown suspects and personal items were taken from the cars to include laptop computers, tablets, wallets, and coins.
In one case, the suspects were seen by a would be victim but they were chased off by his dog. The suspects are described as two white males, thin build, wearing dark clothing and carrying a back pack. In a few of the cases, the victims had noticed the suspects in the area of their houses and even though they seemed suspicious, they did not call police.
If anyone has information regarding these break-ins, please contact the Watervliet Police Department at (269) 463-4770 or contact the department on Facebook. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may receive a reward through the Watervliet Police Department or Crime Stoppers upon arrest and conviction of the individuals involved.
Perez found competent to stand trial
Alex Perez has been found competent to stand trial following five months of in-patient treatment in a state provided psychiatric hospital.
Perez, 25, faces first degree murder charges in the deaths of Renee Mitchell, 27 and her father John Mitchell, 68. The Mitchells were found dead in their Hagar Township home from a concerned relative on January 14, 2016. Renee Mitchell’s two children that she had with Perez were missing.
A nation-wide Amber Alert was issued for the three and four year-old girls. They were found to be in the possession of Perez in Georgetown, Colorado. Published reports state that since then, his parental rights have been terminated.
Perez was found to be incompetent in June of 2016; however, there was no room at the state hospital that needed to provide his mental treatment. Once room became available, he was transported there. He has been there since January of 2017.
With the competency issue resolved the court proceedings regarding the two murder charges can now move forward. He was expected in court again this week.