09-03-2020 Police & Fire; Community Calendar

Community Calendar


Now thru Sept 25 “RIGHTFULLY HERS” visiting exhibit commemorating 100th anniversary of 19th Amendment for women’s voting rights at NB Historical Museum, 300 Coloma Ave., Coloma. Visiting hours: Tue-Fri, 10-4; Call 269-468-3330 to book a tour. Admission is free. Thu, Sept 10, 7pm “BEST RECENT UFOs” free online program via Zoom hosted by Watervliet District Library presented by William Konkolesky of MUFON Fri-Sun, Sept 11-13 “MUM SALE” hosted by the Salem Lutheran Church youth group in the church parking lot at 275 Marvin St., Coloma; Hours: Fri 12-5, Sat 9-5 & Sun 11-3 Sat, Sept 12, 10am-4pm “ANTIQUE ENGINE & TRACTOR SHOW DRIVE-THRU” at Michigan Flywheelers Museum, on 68th street, east of South Haven. For updated information, check www.michiganflywheelers.org or Facebook. Sat, Sept 19, 9am-3pm “COMMUNITY YARD SALE” at Van Buren County Museum, 58471 Red Arrow Hwy., Hartford; 10’x10’ outdoor spot for $20, due the day of the event. Sellers need to bring their own table, chair, and canopy. This is a family-friendly event. There will be food on site to buy. To register for a space, call 269-621-2188 and leave a message with name and phone number. Rain date: Saturday, Sept. 26. The museum will be open for viewing.

Police and Fire Reports

By Annette Christie Failure to stop results in bad accident On August 31, 2020, at 11:57 a.m., the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office and other first responding emergency agencies were dispatched to the intersection of Carmody Road and County Line Road in Watervliet Township. Upon arriving officers determined that a 2005 Ford van that was being operated by a 65-year-old Hartford man was traveling southbound on County Line when he failed to stop at the intersection. Upon entering the intersection, he was struck by a 2007 Peterbilt semi-tractor trailer which was being operated by a 65-year-old male from Zeeland, Michigan. The semi was travelling westbound on Carmody Road. The driver of the Ford van had to be extricated from the vehicle at the scene of the crash by personnel of the Watervliet Fire Department. First responders from the Keeler Township Fire Department also assisted at the scene by providing medical aid to the injured. The driver of the Ford van sustained non-life-threatening injuries; however, there is the potential for paralyzing injuries. He was taken to Lakeland Hospital in Watervliet by Pride Care Ambulance but was later flown to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo for further treatment of his injuries. Police believe that alcohol, drugs, or speed did not play a factor in the crash. The investigation is currently on-going. Fugitive brothers arrested in Van Buren County Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports that a pair of fugitive brothers has been returned to his custody after some community assisted arrests. On Aug. 30, 2020, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous call regarding a wanted fugitive in the area of the 50000 block of County Road 374 in Lawrence Township. The Sheriff’s Office had received numerous tips over the last couple of weeks on the suspect’s whereabouts throughout the county, but he had not been located during previous attempts. Upon deputies’ arrival, they could hear someone running into the woods nearby. A K9 was requested to assist in tracking the suspect. The K9 was deployed and after an extensive track, the K9 located the suspect hiding in the woods several hundred yards away. The suspect, Charles Walter White, 48, was taken into custody without incident and was lodged for absconding parole and a felony warrant for resisting and obstructing police. Additional charges may be submitted at a later time and the investigation is ongoing. Agencies that assisted include the Hartford Police Department, Pokagon Tribal Police Department, and the South Haven Police Department K9 Team. Following that, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s deputies received information that a fugitive, Eric White, who was wanted for absconding parole was in the area of Lawton, Michigan. The Lawton Police Department called out that White had fled from the back seat of a vehicle after they had tried to stop the vehicle. Several Van Buren County Deputies, Detectives and a Michigan State Police unit arrived in the area to set up a perimeter. While setting up the perimeter and awaiting the arrival of the Van Buren County K9 unit, a neighbor informed deputies that White was hiding in a garage in the 300 block of Union Street in Lawton. The Lawton Police Department and the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Deputies surrounded the garage and started calling for Eric White to come out. After several minutes, he advised that he was in the garage. Police entered the garage and took Eric White into custody. The subject is the brother of Charles White, who was taken into custody on Aug. 31 in Lawrence. Abbott stated that his department would like to thank the community for their help in locating these subjects due to the fact that there have been several tips on them coming from social media and the general public. Abbott would like to put the community at ease knowing that both of these subjects are in custody. Fugitive warrant sweep nets multiple arrests and new criminal cases On August 19, 2020, Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports that his office conducted a fugitive sweep throughout the county to arrest subjects wanted on outstanding felony warrants. Van Buren County Sheriff’s Divisions conducting the sweep were comprised of the Criminal Investigations Division, Narcotics Unit, and the Uniform Response Division. During the sweep eight felony arrests and two misdemeanor arrests were made, all subjects were lodged at the Van Buren County Jail. Covid-19 precautions were employed for the safety of the inmates and personnel. New criminal investigations related to the sweeps were opened and are actively being investigated. Suspects arrested include the following: Laura Faye McCoy, female, 6/1/1965 Felony for Possession of Methamphetamine, $1,000 Cash Bond; Fred Sydney Fey, male, 11/14/1961, Felony for Possession of Methamphetamine, $1,000 Cash Bond; Brandy Lynn Smith, female, 7/17/1981, Felony for Possession of Controlled Substance, $2,500 Cash Bond; Dale Eugene Parish Sr., male, 10/7/1972 Felony for Possession of Methamphetamine, $2,000 Cash Bond; Dwight Edward Whitson, male, 9/15/1955, Felony for Operating Under the Influence 3rd Offense, $5,000 Cash/Surety Bond; Christopher Michel Pitcock, male, 9/11/1988, Felony 3 Counts Delivering Controlled Substance, $30,000 Cash Bond; Keith Wayne Hooper, male, 4/7/1993, Felony for Possession of Methamphetamine, $10,000 Cash Bond; Morgan LeeAnn Terry, female, 3/17/1992, Felony for Possession of Methamphetamine, $10,000 Cash Bond; Dannielle Modena Petty, female, 7-2-1990, Misdemeanor Failure to Appear orig. Charge OWI $925 Cash Bond. Other Charges: Possession of Heroin 2 suspects, case will be submitted for charges; Possession of Meth 1 suspect, case will be submitted for charges; Misdemeanor Arrest for Failure to Pay Child Support (suspect arraigned and released). Keeler Township man arrested for OWI causing death Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports that deputies from his office responded to an assault, leading to a traffic crash which resulted in the death of a 17-year-old male from Hartford. The Sheriff’s Office reports that a fight took place near the intersection of Red Arrow Highway and Springdale Drive in Hartford Township. Two subjects fled from the fight and during the escape, the truck collided with a light pole. One of the combatants was holding on to the driver’s side window area of the truck and the collision pinned the victim between the truck and the pole causing his death. The investigation into this crime will continue. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office. Agencies assisting at the scene were Hartford Police Department, Pokagon Tribal Police, Michigan State Police Paw Paw Post, Pride Care EMS, and Hartford Fire Department. North Berrien Fire Rescue The North Berrien Fire Rescue Department responded to 50 calls from July 1 until half way through August. There were 10 calls in the City of Coloma including a building fire, off road vehicle or heavy equipment fire, natural vegetation fire, motor vehicle accident with injuries, an animal rescue, unauthorized burning, alarms, and a dispatched call that was later canceled. There were 19 calls in Coloma Charter Township including a building fire, brush or grass mixture fire, medical assists, emergency medical service, motor vehicle accident, power line down, arcing or shorted electrical equipment, authorized controlled burn, detector activation with no fire, and severe weather standby. There were 18 calls in Hagar Township including a passenger vehicle fire, grass fire, medical assists, motor vehicle accidents, power line down, arcing, shorted electrical equipment, dispatched and canceled, authorized controlled burning, smoke detector activations, and alarm activation. Between I-94 and I-196, there were four calls. K9 Officers receive safety equipment Berrien County Sheriff’s Office K9s Blek, Maxx, and Mika will receive bullet and stab protective vests thanks to a charitable donation from the non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The vests will be embroidered with the sentiment, “This gift of protection provided by Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.”. Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks. Sheriff Paul Bailey commented, “We are very appreciative of this donation and pleased to have each of our three K9s chosen to receive these protective vests.” The Berrien County Sheriff’s K9s all have their own story. Blek (pronounced Blue), is a German Shepherd/ Belgian Malinois mix. He is from Belarus and was born in July of 2018. Blek is trained in explosive detection, firearms detection, tracking suspects, apprehension, and handler protection. Blek has been partnered with Deputy Brandon Crosby since November of 2019 after they successfully completed basic training at FMK9 in Berrien Springs. His favorite toy is his tug toy and appropriately, he loves to play tug of war. Maxx is a 5-year-old German Shepherd/ Belgian Malinois cross from the Netherlands. He is certified in narcotics detection, tracking, suspect apprehension and handler protection. He is currently assigned to Deputy Paul Grenon. Maxx is certified through the North American Police Work Dog Association. He became a member of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department in 2017. Maxx loves going to work and in his off time enjoys playing with his favorite toy, a tennis ball. Mika is a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois and is a native of Budapest. He is certified in narcotics detection, tracking, suspect apprehension and handler protection. Mika is currently assigned to Deputy Jason Haskins. K9 Mika loves to swim and chase chipmunks. The one thing Mika hates is having her nails trimmed. Donor Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., established in 2009, is a 501(c)(3) charity whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. This potentially lifesaving body armor for four-legged K9 is made in the United States, custom fitted, and NIJ certified. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,004 vests to K9s in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, made possible by both private and corporate donations. The program is open to U.S. dogs that are at least 20 months old, active employed, and certified with law enforcement or related agencies. K9s with expired vests are also eligible to participate. There is an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $960 will sponsor one vest. Each vest has a value of $1,744 – $2,283, weighs an average of 4-5 lbs., and comes with a five-year warranty. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest provides information, lists events, and accepts donations at www.vik9s.org or you may mail your contribution to P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.

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