Category Archives: Police & Fire

Michigan State Police to crackdown on distracted driving during awareness month

Michigan law prohibits a driver from reading, manually typing, or sending a text message while driving. (Huron Hub file photo)

  • To draw awareness to distracted driving, law enforcement agencies around the state are participating in a nationwide distracted driving crackdown period from April 11-15.


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub |
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published April 2, 2019 — 1:30 p.m. EST

With April being distracted driving awareness month, Michigan State Police are reminding motorists of the dangers posed when engaging in bad driving habits.

They will also be cracking down on drivers who use their phones when behind the wheel.

Michigan saw a 57 percent increase in distracted driving crashes and a 67 percent increase in fatalities from those crashes from 2016 to 2017, according to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center (MSP CJIC).

To draw awareness to distracted driving, law enforcement agencies around the state are participating in a nationwide distracted driving crackdown period from April 11-15.

“When you are behind the wheel, keep your phone out of reach,” said Michael L. Prince, director, Office of Highway Safety Planning. “Studies show that texting while driving takes your attention off the road more than any other activity.”

According to MSP CJIC, there were 20,115 crashes in Michigan during 2017 involving distracted driving, resulting in 72 fatalities. In 2016, there were 12,788 distracted driving crashes resulting in 43 fatalities.

“This is a noteworthy increase in crashes and nearly 30 more fatalities. We have to do everything possible to get those numbers trending in the opposite direction,” said Prince.

To help encourage drivers to remain attentive to the task of driving, the OHSP has distributed materials to every law enforcement agency across the state. On April 11, to kick off the five-day mobilization period, agencies across the state will be patrolling looking for distracted drivers.

Michigan law prohibits a driver from reading, manually typing, or sending a text message while driving.

Driving is defined as: operating a moving motor vehicle on a street or highway.

Exceptions will be made for reporting crashes, crimes or other emergencies.


 

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Police at Sibley and Vining Roads are enforcing spring weight restrictions

(Huron Hub file photo)


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub |
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published March 26, 2019 — 9:30 a.m. EST

If you’ve noticed a police presence at Sibley and Vining Roads in Huron Township as of late, it’s because police use the area to enforce spring weight restrictions, commonly referred to as frost laws.

“The state has enacted the frost law weight restrictions for truck traffic. These start and end dates are controlled by the state and county. We are unsure of the end date at this point,” said Everette Robbins, Huron Director of Public Safety.

This infographic from the Michigan Department of Transportation explains why spring weight restrictions are important for the health of roadways.

“Sibley and Vining is the area that most of the truck weighing is taking place. We are routing the truck there to be weighed as it is a safe way for the officers to do it,” he said.

“It is important that we protect our roads as best we can.”


 

Bill would lower drunk driving limit to .05 in Michigan

State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) announced last week during a press conference legislation that would lower the state’s drunk driving limit from .08 blood alcohol concentration to .05. (Photo courtesy of Abdullah Hammoud)


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub |
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published March 26, 2019 — 9:00 a.m. EST

State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) announced last week legislation that would lower Michigan’s blood alcohol concentration threshold and would require ignition interlock devices for all first time convicted drunk drivers.

The bill would lower the state’s drunk driving limit from .08 blood alcohol concentration to .05.

The only state that requires a BAC that low is Utah.

“We must address drunk driving, which is a completely avoidable epidemic,” Hammoud said during a press conference last week. “As a former public health professional, I am motivated by facts and statistics, and as a legislator I know our current policies in place to prevent drunk driving are not working, which is why we must do more. The loss of the Abbas family, a beautiful family of five, due to a drunk driver, has further motivated a community of advocates to step up and propose real solutions backed up by the scientific community. These critical proposals will do more to prevent drinking and driving, and ultimately save lives.”

According to officials, studies show impairment at BAC levels below .08 is significant, adding seconds to response time, and in the case of traffic scenarios, is often the difference between life and death.

According to the Michigan State Police, alcohol and drug-related fatal crashes remain a major traffic safety issue, with approximately 44.9 percent of total fatal crashes related to alcohol or drug impairment.

A .05 BAC would result in an estimated 11 percent decline in fatal alcohol crashes and save approximately 1500 lives annually in the United States, according to MSP.

Studies also show an interlock device is more effective than a suspended license alone, as 50-75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.

Hammoud was joined at the press conference by representatives from a number of groups, including Helen Witty, national president, Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“Today, we are proud to stand with Michigan to support this proposal that research shows will save lives,” said Witty, whose 16-year-old daughter Helen Marie was killed by a drunk and marijuana-impaired driver while rollerblading on a bike path. “Research shows that critical driving skills are impaired at 0.05 BAC, significantly increasing the risk of a horrible, 100 percent preventable crash. We want to do anything we can to support states that are trying to stop these tragedies and keep drunk drivers off the road.”

In addition to Ms. Witty, Rep. Hammoud was joined by Nicholas J. Smith, National Safety Council Interim President and CEO, Jennifer Homendy, National Transportation and Safety Board Member and Tara Gill, Senior Director of Advocacy and State Legislation for Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.


 

Conservation officer rescues capsized kayaker in Lake Erie

Conservation Officer Nick Ingersoll


Article published March 25, 2019 — 11:30 a.m. 

A 24-year-old man from Taylor, Michigan, was hospitalized and treated for hypothermia last night after his kayak overturned in Lake Erie.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Nick Ingersoll received a call from Monroe County Dispatch at 7:18 p.m. A kayaker who was walleye fishing overturned in Brest Bay of Lake Erie, offshore of Sterling State Park in Monroe. The capsized kayaker originally was reported by Deputy Seth Evans, with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, who witnessed the kayaker overturn.

Located nearby on highway 275 and Ready Road, Ingersoll activated the emergency lights on his DNR patrol truck and drove to the Sterling State Park headquarters, where he had prepared his DNR patrol boat earlier in the season. Ingersoll towed the boat to the Sterling State Park boat launch, where two fishermen aided him in launching the patrol boat into the bay.

Dispatch provided Ingersoll with the kayaker’s location based on cellphone coordinates obtained when the kayaker had called 911 for help. Evans also had maintained sight of the kayaker and was able to direct Ingersoll through radio communication, once Ingersoll was in his patrol boat and on the water.

Receiving navigation assistance from Evans, Ingersoll saw the kayaker, located about a quarter of a mile offshore. The kayaker was in the water, holding onto the kayak with one arm, waving his lit-up cellphone in the air with the other arm.

“The water was very choppy, making it difficult to clearly scan the water for the victim,” said Ingersoll. “If it weren’t for the kayaker’s lit-up cellphone, he would have easily been mistaken for a log in the water.”

At 7:38 p.m., Ingersoll reached the kayaker and instructed him to continue holding the kayak. The kayaker was not wearing a lifejacket when he overturned and told Ingersoll that he was unable to find his lifejacket once he was in the water. Ingersoll positioned the DNR patrol boat as close to the kayaker as he safely could and threw him a lifejacket. Once the kayaker had the lifejacket, Ingersoll continued to instruct the kayaker.

“You’re going to have to trust me,” Ingersoll told the kayaker. “I need you to let go of the kayak and trust that I have you.”

Once the man let go of the kayak, Ingersoll was able to secure him on the ladder of the boat.

“He was so cold, he couldn’t move,” Ingersoll said about the kayaker. “He couldn’t step onto the ladder; he was frozen and exhausted.”

Ingersoll was able to lift the kayaker partially onto the boat. Once the kayaker was chest-level on the boat, Ingersoll reached the man’s pants and pulled him the rest of the way out of the water. The kayaker had been in the water for a total of 20 minutes by the time Ingersoll secured him on the DNR boat.

“I instructed him to shed as much of his wet clothing as possible,” said Ingersoll. “I gave him my jacket and told him that he’s going to be very cold, but I’m going to get him to shore, which seemed to calm him a little bit.”

While Ingersoll drove the patrol boat back to shore, he continued to make conversation with the kayaker.

“I knew I had to keep him talking so he would stay conscious. I joked with him a little, and even got him to laugh,” Ingersoll said.

The DNR patrol boat recorded the temperature in the Brest Bay on Thursday evening, which ranged from 38 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

French Town Fire Department and Monroe County Ambulance were waiting onshore for Ingersoll and the kayaker. Ingersoll transitioned the kayaker to Monroe County Ambulance staff members, who provided onsite medical attention for hypothermia before transporting the kayaker to the hospital at approximately 7:57 p.m.

“Because of Ingersoll’s close proximity, he was able to launch his DNR patrol boat into the water and reach the man within 20 minutes,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Our DNR conservation officers are able to act as first responders due to their location and equipment within the communities they live in and serve. I’m proud of Ingersoll’s fast response for what could have been a tragic situation.”

Ingersoll spoke to the victim’s girlfriend just before 9 p.m., who said that her boyfriend was being prepared for release from the hospital and will make a full recovery.

“This situation stresses the importance of wearing a lifejacket while on the water,” Hagler said. “The DNR wants everyone to enjoy our natural resources, safely. Please don’t take safety for granted. Even in calm waters, kayakers and canoers can easily overturn.”

For more information about recreational safety, including boater safety, go to Michigan.gov/RecreationalSafety.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

Source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources


 

Huron police officer enters burning house to save woman

(image/WDIV-Channel 4)


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub |
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published March 21, 2019 — 7:30 a.m. EST

Dramatic body camera footage shows Huron Township police officer Adam Sheehan enter a burning house Wednesday morning to save a woman from inside.

When Sheehan arrived to the house, flames were erupting from inside and smoke was filling the rooms as he searched for the woman.

Officer Adam Sheehan

After finding the woman, she initially did not want to leave the house because of her seven cats that were still somewhere on the property.

Sheehan was able to eventually get her outside to safety.

Watch the body camera footage on WDIV-Channel 4


 

Detroit police lieutenant from New Boston nominated for department’s female officer of the year

Lt. Shanda Starks of Detroit police was nominated female officer of the year, which will be announced April 4 during the department’s “Women in Blue” event at MGM Grand Detroit. Starks lives in New Boston and is a 22-year veteran with Detroit police. (Photo courtesy of Detroit Public Safety Foundation)


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub |
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published March 20, 2019 — 8:30 a.m. EST
Updated March 20, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. EST

 

Lt. Shanda Starks of the Detroit Police Department has been nominated for female officer of the year after serving with the department for 22 years.

Starks, a New Boston resident, will be among a field of other candidates nominated, and the award will be announced during an April 4 event at MGM Grand Detroit called “Women in Blue.”

The award was created to recognize those who have distinguished service to the Detroit Police Department, the law enforcement profession, and the greater Detroit community, according to the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.

Nominations are open to female officers from the ranks of police officer to lieutenant.

During her career with Detroit police, Starks, 48, has worked in several different areas including internal affairs, recruiting, executive protection, and patrol operations as an officer and supervisor.

She has also worked many challenging investigations, including working in the sex crimes unit for nine years and most recently, in the child abuse unit for five years.

“Starks brings professionalism and a spirit of service to the victims of these horrific crimes and their families,” a statement from Detroit Public Safety said.

While overseeing the child abuse unit, Starks was able to build manpower and change the intake process to ensure complaints involving children were never missed.

“The oversight instituted by Lt. Starks ensures that every external complaint is investigated, and the proper notifications are made,” the statement said.

Starks was promoted recently to lieutenant and is currently assigned to communications.

She has a degree in public service administration and a master’s degree in organizational leadership, and was the first female to serve on the Detroit Police Department Honor Guard, serving from 2001-2008.

Starks stays active in the community when she’s not in uniform.

She volunteers at her church and speaks to children at inner city schools about child abuse and sex crimes, and also reads to children and encourages them to study and learn.

Starks has lived in New Boston since 2006 and is married to retired Wayne County Sheriffs Deputy Corporal Steven Starks.

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected on March 20, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. to reflect that Lt. Starks has been nominated for the award. An original posting incorrectly stated that Starks had already been awarded the title. The award will be announced April 4. 


 

Michigan State Police will be on lookout for impaired drivers during St. Patrick’s Day


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub |
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published March 15, 2019 — 10:45 a.m. EST 

A few extra drinks will probably be flowing this weekend as St. Patrick’s Day will be on Sunday.

Michigan State Police are warning all who plan to partake in the fun that authorities will be on the lookout for impaired drivers.

Their advice to drivers: plan before you party.

On Sunday, troopers will join their counterparts from across the country in the international traffic safety initiative called Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Efforts).

“Don’t rely on luck. If you plan on celebrating, plan ahead by designating a sober driver or scheduling a ride on St. Patrick’s Day,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “We want the roads safe for everyone using them. Troopers will be out looking for impaired drivers.”

Authorities suggest downloading a ride sharing app or programming a taxi service’s number into your phone before the festivities begin.

The enforcement period begins at 12:01 a.m., on Sunday, March 17, and will end at 11:59 p.m.

Operation C.A.R.E. began in 1977 as a collaborative effort between the MSP and the Indiana State Police, and is one of the nation’s longest-running traffic safety initiatives. It focuses on deterring the three main causes of highway fatalities: aggressive driving, impaired driving and failure to use occupant restraints.

March 17 has become one of the nation’s deadliest holidays.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, more than a quarter of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.

The early hours of March 18 were even worse that year.

Between midnight and 5:59 a.m., nearly half of all crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.

Additionally, from 2010 to 2014, almost three-fourths of the drunk-driving fatalities during the holiday period involved drivers who had blood alcohol contents well above the .08 legal limit, with 266 drunk-driving fatalities total.

Drivers need to also keep an eye out for pedestrians who have had too much to drink.

Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention and coordination puts drunk pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.