10-04-2018 Police and Fire

Police Reports

By Annette Christie

Home invasion ends in gunfire as homeowner defends property

Michigan State Police responded to a home invasion in progress on September 26 at approximately 11:42 p.m. with shots fired.  Upon arriving at the residence located on 2095 M-140 in Bainbridge Township, investigations revealed two suspects wearing masks had attempted to gain access into the residence through a window.

Occupants of the residence had heard noises outside and one of the homeowners went outside armed with a handgun.  Once outside, the homeowner confronted two suspects who were standing near an open window.  One of the suspects pointed a handgun at the homeowner.  The homeowner fired his handgun in the direction of the two suspects and both suspects fled the scene on foot.

A Michigan State Police tracking dog was called to the scene and a track was established.  One of the suspects was captured in a field just north of the scene.  Attempts to locate the second suspect met with negative results. As of Tuesday, October 2, the second suspect remained unaccounted for.

The arrested man, a white male, 37 years old from the South Haven, Van Buren County area was lodged at the Berrien County Jail on a charge of   home invasion.

Assisting with the call were the Pokagon Tribal Police, Watervliet Police Department, Coloma Township Police Department and the Berrien County Sheriff.

Motorcyclist lead police on chase

On Friday, September 28, 2018 at approximately 8:38 p.m., Watervliet Police Officer Mike Prince was patrolling in the city when he observed a white and blue crotch rocket style motorcycle heading westbound on Butternut Street.  The motorcycle matched the description of a motorcycle that was reported stolen the previous Monday.

The white light on the motorcycle was protruding from the rear tail light which is a violation of the Michigan Vehicle Code.  In addition, the motorcycle began to accelerate in the posted 25 MPH zone.  Officer Prince began to follow the motorcycle and the suspect on the motorcycle quickly accelerated while turning onto M-140, heading southbound.  Prince continued to attempt to catch up to the suspect cycle, but, it then quickly made a right hand turn onto westbound First Street, and continued to accelerate at a high rate of speed.

With the patrol car emergency lights activated, Prince observed the cycle accelerating at speeds well over 50 MPH in the posted 25 MPH. He then activated the siren and notified the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office of a pursuit.

The suspect motorcycle was headed southbound on First Street and it blew the four-way stop sign at the intersection of First and West Pleasant streets. The motorcycle made a quick left hand turn and proceeded through the parking lot of the Watervliet Coin Laundry.  The cycle continued at a high rate of speed after jumping the curve and proceeded eastbound on St. Joseph Street.  It headed to the intersection of St. Joseph and Main streets and ran the red light, striking a northbound blue Pontiac Aztec, which had the right of way.

The impact of the crash stopped the motorcycle with the suspect flying over the hood of the car.  The suspect, Jordan Smith, began running to the east where he then cut around Tri-County Computer Services and began running north.  With Prince trying to get around the debris of the accident and the traffic, he lost sight of the suspect.

After calling out a description of the suspect, witnesses said he had been seen running across N. Main Street and through the Marathon Gas Station parking lot.  Prince stopped back at the accident scene to check on the welfare of the young teenage driver. She was found to be okay but extremely shaken up.

Prince was contacted by William Loshbough IV who advised that the suspect had attempted to steal his father’s truck that he had. He said he was parked at the Marathon Gas Station when he observed the motorcycle fleeing from a police car and crashing into a vehicle at the traffic light. He said he exited his Dodge pick-up truck with the engine still running, while attempting to check on the driver of the vehicle that had been struck by the motorcycle.

The suspect jumped into the Loshbough truck on the passenger side and was attempting to get into the driver’s seat when Loshbough returned to the truck and pushed Smith out of the truck.  Smith exited the truck and ran across the Marathon parking lot and the Watervliet Coin Laundry.   Loshbough gave chase of the suspect while he was calling 911.  He was able to provide a good description of the individual.

With the aid of K-9 Trooper Joel Service, the suspect was able to be located in the backyard of a residence near N. Pleasant Street.  Smith was then apprehended by Service and Berrien County Sheriff Deputy Justin Goff.

Following treatment at Lakeland Hospital, Smith was interviewed.  He was lodged at the Berrien County Jail for fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, and failure to identify.

Student brings pot brownies to school

Hartford Public Schools sent home a letter to parents that stated that on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, school administrators received a call from the Michigan State Police informing them that an anonymous tip came into the OK2SAY tip line that students were consuming marijuana laced brownies in the high school. High School Principal Dave Janicki and his staff immediately acted on the tip and started an investigation. Due to the nature of the investigation, the school was unable to provide information on that investigation until it was concluded.

Through their investigation, they confirmed that brownies laced with marijuana were brought into the school and distributed to several students. The letter states that all individuals involved are being dealt with according to district policies and the student handbook. The district did contact the Hartford Police Department and was assisting them with their criminal investigation into this matter.

The letter that was authored by Superintendent Andrew Hubbard stated, “We will continue our unwavering commitment to make the safety of our students and staff the top priority at Hartford Public Schools. Parents, please take some time tonight to discuss with your children that if at any time they become aware of a potential danger to themselves or others, it is their duty to report it immediately to a staff member directly, our website’s anonymous tip line, or OK2SAY. Prompt action will help the administration investigate and deal swiftly with any such issue.”

The Hartford Police Department has not officially released information on the investigation; however, Hartford Police Patrolman Michael Prince did speak to WWMT Channel 3.

Prince told the news source that he was investigating the incident and looking at two things, one being that they (the brownies) were put in some goody bags for the football players and the second being that they were used to obtain votes for homecoming queen. He told WWMT that the Hartford Police Department began investigating after receiving the tip on OK2SAY and that the student is accused of baking the batch of 12 drug-laced brownies and slipping some in the goodie bags for the football team. It is possible that some were ingested.

Some of the brownies recovered were sent to the Michigan State Police crime lab for testing.  They have not released the name of the individual.

Infant death causes suspicion

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a medical call at 5100 Little Paw Paw Lake Road (Ravine-View Estates) in Coloma Township on Monday October 1, 2018. The medical call was in reference to a two-month-old child.   Upon arrival officers found the incident to be suspicious in nature and detectives were called to assist with the investigation.

The two-month-old child was transported to Lakeland Hospital Watervliet by Pride Care Ambulance and was later transferred to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo.  The child passed away at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2, 2018.  An autopsy was scheduled to be performed at Western Michigan University School of Medicine.

This incident remains under investigation and no additional details are available at this time.

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