On 3/25/20 Berrien County 911 Dispatch was contacted by Van Buren County Dispatch that they were in pursuit of a vehicle on I-94 going into Berrien County. Dispatch advised that the driver was a suspect (30 year old from Portage) in a Domestic Violence case. Dispatch also advised that the suspect had his 1 year old daughter in the vehicle, the daughter was not buckled up, suspect was possibly intoxicated, and the suspect was possibly armed with a handgun. Speeds of the pursuit leaving Van Buren County were reaching over 110 MPH. The suspect had also fled from Portage Police Dept (the originating department). Van Buren County stopped the pursuit at the Berrien County border.
Berrien County Sheriff’s Office chose out of caution for the child to NOT pursue the vehicle. The vehicle entered Berrien County and Deputies and Officers observed the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed going towards Benton Harbor. It was also found out that the suspect had family and had a former address in the Benton Harbor area. Deputies followed at a long distance without lights and sirens. Deputies and Officers lost sight of the vehicle. The vehicle was then spotted on M139/Pipestone by the Michigan State Police. The vehicle was followed and was traveling slowly. The vehicle then sped up, turned off its lights and was lost again in the city of Benton Harbor. Deputies and Officers flooded the city of the Benton Harbor spotting the vehicle and lossing sight of it. The vehicle was never pursued by any agency in Berrien County.
At 2:48 am, citizens from 900 block of Jennings in Benton Harbor reported a crash in which a vehicle had flipped and was on it’s roof. Deputies and Officers rushed to the scene and found it was NOT the vehicle they were looking for with the suspect and baby. This driver had mild injuries and appeared to be intoxicated. This driver was transported by Medic One ambulance to Lakeland St. Joseph. At 3:09am the ambulance was going to the hospital, the suspect vehicle with the baby inside was driving with its headlights off, ran a stop sign, and almost ran into the side of the Medic One Ambulance on Superior. The vehicle was seen going airborne and then bottomed out on the road.
The vehicle was lost again. Deputy Crosby with his K-9 partner Blek saw the suspect vehicle again on Pipestone Rd/Britain. The suspect continued to drive with his headlights off. Dust and smoke were seen were seen near the intersection of Main St. and Butternut with the suspect vehicle being found in a yard with a blown out tire. The suspect and the child were not in the the vehicle.
A perimeter was set up and Deputy Crosby with K-9 Blek began to track the suspect. During the track several articles of clothing were found. In the 1200 block of Vincent Ct., K-9 Blek located the suspect hidden behind a shed. K-9 Blek apprehended the suspect, biting him in the arm. Depuities then took the suspect into custody. The suspects one year old daughter was also found behind him and was NOT harmed. In looking through the articles of clothing left by the suspect, a handgun was located in a pant leg.
The suspect was taken to Lakeland Hospital where he was treated for the K-9 bite. The 1 year old daughter was also taken to Lakeland Hospital and checked by staff. The 1 year old daughter was then reunited with her mother.
It should be noted that K-9 Blek (pronounced blue) is the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office newest member of the K-9 team, and has been in service since November 2019. K-9 Blek was trained locally at FM K-9 in Berrien Center.