10-17-2019 Police and Fire

Police and Fire Reports

By Annette Christie

Hartford gas leak causes late night evacuation

The Hartford Police Department announced on their Facebook page Tuesday night that a huge tree fell on a house in the 200 block of N. Center Street. The post said that the tree was also in the street.

Reports stated that the fallen tree took out a gas line and power lines. The heavy winds played a factor. Emergency responders evacuated the 100 and 200 blocks of N. Center Street and also the 200 block of Haver. Families of those locations were able to re-locate to the Hartford Fire Station. After some time, the evacuation was lifted. Details on the condition of the house or if any injuries were sustained are unknown.

Watervliet City Police Department to re-institute Neighborhood Watch Program

The Watervliet Police Department will be holding an informational meeting on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 1:00 p.m., at the Watervliet City Hall in regards to rebuilding the Neighborhood Watch Program.

The department is asking that anyone interested in being a block captain or participant, attend the meeting or contact the police department accordingly. Topics to be discussed will include: Safe houses for children before and after school, vetting processes, areas of concern, and duties/ responsibilities. “This will be a great opportunity to empower the community in helping the department protect our neighborhoods while also hearing about any concerns that local residents may have,” stated Police Chief Tim Sutherland.

Officer Toby Thornbury, who serves as the community’s School Resource Officer, will lead the meeting and the program rebuild under the direction of Chief Sutherland.

For questions or concerns, please contact the Watervliet Police Department at 269-463-5112.

Coloma Township Police respond to tip; Multiple arrests

On September 23, 2019, officers from the Coloma Township Police Department and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department received a tip about wanted individuals located at 5877 Johnson Rd.

Officers responded to the area and located several subjects standing outside of the residence. Officers then took into custody Ashley Goodson, Gavin Jackson (who was located hiding inside the house), and Barbara Sloan-Walker for resisting and obstructing police during the arrests.

Three other individuals were also arrested on outstanding warrants by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. Their names were not released at this time.

In the month of September, the Coloma Township Police Department made 38 arrests in all, of which six were felonies. They had a total of 236 complaints investigated and 18 accidents (property damage 10, private property accidents 5, and injury accidents 3).

The department performed 45 traffic stops and issued 11 citations and 41 warnings.

Hartford Police Chief uses social media to warn students and parents about RR track usage

Hartford Police Chief Tressa Beltran went to social media to spread the word about a situation she is dealing with in the City. On October 9, 2019 there was a “TO ALL HARTFORD STUDENTS THAT WALK HOME FROM THE MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL AND THIER PARENTS” message on the Hartford Police Department Facebook page. Beltran stated on the page that they have received complaints that students are trespassing on the railroad tracks and that they are also cutting right out in front of the trains. The tracks that she was speaking about are the ones that are located south of the school. They run parallel with Hart/ Hilliard Street.

Beltran referred to MCL 462.273 which says that it shall be unlawful to be walking/ driving/ riding/ or being upon or along the right-of-way or yard belonging to the railroad company without permission. This violation is a misdemeanor and punishable by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or by a fine of not more than $100.00 or both.

Beltran stated that they also have a City Ordinance referring to Parental Responsibility, which could also be a misdemeanor. Beltran said that means that not only can the students be ticketed or placed into custody but the parents too can be charged if necessary.

Beltran wrote, “None of us here at the Hartford Police wants to have to deliver the news that your child or loved one has been struck or sucked up by a train and has passed! Please instruct your students not to walk on the tracks! And for those students who are old enough to read this and know better – PLEASE! I BEG OF YOU! DO NOT WALK ON THE TRACKS!”

Single vehicle crash claims Eau Claire man

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal crash that occurred on Hochberger Road near Hipps Hollow Road in Benton Township at approximately 9:42 a.m. on October 12, 2019.

The driver, who was identified as Thomas Disterheft of Eau Claire, was traveling north bound on Hochberger when his vehicle left the roadway and struck a large tree.