Police and Fire Reports By Annette Christie Murder charges filed against Hartford woman Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports that deputies and detectives from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office investigated the death of Donald Collins from February 2019. Mr. Collins passed away at an assisted living facility after being transferred from his caretaker’s home to the hospital. He was previously in the care of the suspect, Frances Collins (no relation) in the 62000 block of 63rd Street in Hartford Township. The suspect was a caretaker in her home. The investigation was related to Vulnerable Adult Abuse, due to the care he received from the suspect Frances Collins, which in turn, resulted in his death days after being transferred to the hospital and assisted living facility. The cause of death was listed as sepsis (infection) as a result of his care while in the suspect’s home. Frances Collins was arrested and lodged in the Van Buren County Jail charged with felony murder related to vulnerable adult abuse by the 7th West District Court in Van Buren County. She was arraigned on the charges and issued a bond. Frances Collins is scheduled for a probable cause conference on Oct. 28, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. in South Haven District Court. Operation Safe Stop The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is participating in the voluntary enforcement campaign known as “Operation Safe Stop” during the week of Oct. 19 – 23, 2020. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Office of Highway Safety Planning and other law enforcement agencies in the campaign. The voluntary enforcement campaign is taking place during National School Bus Safety Week. School buses are the safest way for children to get to and from school. Their design is meant to be safer than any passenger vehicle in avoiding crashes and preventing injuries. Even with some schools utilizing remote and hybrid learning, many school buses are still operating on the roadways. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office will be concentrating the enforcement efforts in and around school bus pick-up and drop-off locations as well as in speed zones near school buildings. According to the Michigan State Police criminal Justice Information Center, in Michigan in 2019, there were 1,197 school bus-related crashes, the most in the last 10 years; of the 1,197 school-bus related crashes in Michigan in 2019, 114 of them happened while the bus was stopped with flashing lights; there were 42 people injured in those 114 crashes; and in Michigan of 2019, October was the month with the most school bus-related crashes (162). According to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, Michigan bus drivers conducted a one-day survey in May of 2019 and in just that one day, the 1,373 participating bus drivers reported that 508 times, a motorist passed a school bus illegally; and over the last three years, this one-day survey has averaged 662 instances of motorists illegally passing a school bus. Drivers are reminded that those that pass stopped school buses may be charged with civil infractions carrying a fine between $100 and $500. Violators may also be required to perform up to 100 hours of community service at a school. Drivers who pass a stopped school bus and cause a death are subject to a felony with either a fine up to $7,500 or up to 15 years in jail. Hartford Fire Department Hartford Fire Chief Robbie Harting reports that there were a total of 56 calls for the month of September. Included in the calls were two fires, one hazardous condition, one service call, four good intent calls, one false alarm, and 47 rescue and emergency medical service calls. The department had one building fire and one contained trash or building fire. They had 40 emergency medical services (EMS) calls, which exclude a vehicle accident with injury. There were three motor vehicle accidents with injuries and four medical assists to an EMS crew. North Berrien Fire Rescue Department Between September 1 and October 19, 2020, the North Berrien Fire Rescue Department has responded to four calls in Coloma City including a motor vehicle accident with injuries, and a power line down. In Coloma Charter Township, the department has responded to nine calls including a fire, a trash or waste fire, two motor vehicle accidents with injuries, a gas leak, and two power line down calls. In Hagar Township, the department responded to 14 calls. They include two building fires, one road freight or transport vehicle fire, one motor vehicle accident with injuries, and two medical assists to an EMS crew. Fire departments participate in Halloween festivities The Watervliet Fire Department will be sponsoring a trunk and treat event on Friday, Oct. 30 from 4-6 p.m., everyone is invited to participate. Those providing a “trunk” will have a chance to win the “best dressed” prize. This will be held in conjunction with the downtown trick-or-treating and the community trick-or-treating. The North Berrien Fire Department will be taking part in the trunk or treat event at Salem Lutheran Church in Coloma on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.
Tue & Thu thru Oct 29 “FARM MARKET” at Hartford United Methodist Church; Tuesdays 2-6pm & Thursdays 8am-1pm. Face masks required. Anyone interested in being a vendor, call 269-621-4103. Oct 1-31 “KIM’S COAT DRIVE FOR KIDS” held by Sen. Kim LaSata. For more information or to schedule a donated coat pickup, call 517-373-6960 or email SenKLaSata@senate.michigan.gov. Sat, Oct 24, 3-5pm “TRUNK OR TREAT” drive-thru ONLY at Coloma Salem Lutheran Church. Vehicle lineup begins at Park and Wilson streets. NO WALK-UP ALLOWED. Sat, Oct 24, 3-5 pm “HALLOWEEN DRIVE THRU TRICK OR TREAT” hosted by Coloma FOP & Rod and Gun Club held at 6145 Angling Rd., Coloma for children 1-14 years old. Fri, Oct 30 “TRICK OR TREAT” City of Watervliet: Downtown Sidewalk Parade, 3-5pm; residential, 5-7pm Fri, Oct 30, 5-7pm “TRICK OR TREAT” in Watervliet Charter Township Oct 30 & 31 “HALLOWEEN TRAIL” public event at Sarett Nature Center to hike the trail and receive tricks and treats with ticket purchased online at www.sarett.org Sat, Oct 31, 1-3pm “TRUNK OR TREAT” at Hartford Public Library, 12 Church St. Sat, Oct 31, 5-7pm “TRICK OR TREAT” in Coloma City and Coloma Township Sat, Oct 31, 6-8pm “TRICK OR TREAT” in City of Hartford