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Misdemeanor charges authorized against Lillywhite in February crash

By Robert Tomlinson
News Director

KALAMAZOO — St. Joseph County Sheriff Mark Lillywhite was officially charged Thursday with two misdemeanors, including drunk driving, stemming from a crash that occurred in February.

According to documents filed by the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office, Prosecutor Jeff Getting announced two formal charges against Lillywhite, both misdemeanors: Operating while intoxicated and carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence.

Both charges, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, carry a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail and/or fines.

The crash occurred on Feb. 26 at 2:18 a.m. on southbound U.S. 131 between XY Avenue and West YZ Avenue in Schoolcraft Township. According to police, Lillywhite, who was driving a Chevy Traverse, rear-ended another vehicle going in the same direction, causing both vehicles to go off the road, with the rear-ended car rolling an unknown number of times in the process.

According to reports from Michigan State Police and the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department, responding officers reportedly detected signs of intoxication when talking with Lillywhite. In an interview later with police, a trooper said Lillywhite “refused to give any information pertaining to the crash,” and that Lillywhite denied being the driver in the crash.

“I then asked Lillywhite who was driving the vehicle he was in and he said, ‘I have no idea.’ He then explained the vehicle was owned by the county. I again asked who was driving the vehicle and Lillywhite stated, ‘To be honest with you, bad, bad, bad, but no, I don’t,’” the report from an MSP trooper stated.

Lillywhite also reportedly refused to participate in any standard field sobriety tests, since he claimed he wasn’t the driver, and also refused to consent to a breathalyzer test. He was then subsequently arrested and read his Miranda rights at 3:22 a.m. He was taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital for a consent blood draw, then to the Kalamazoo County Jail for lodging.

Crash data from the MSP report showed the Traverse was going between 96 and 99 miles per hour in the five seconds prior to the crash, and that brakes were not being used. The passenger seat was also unoccupied prior to the crash.

In a search of Lillywhite’s vehicle, police reportedly found a loaded pistol in the center console, and two other firearms in the trunk of the vehicle, which MSP noted was Lillywhite’s assigned duty vehicle. The Traverse was registered to the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department, according to Secretary of State records.

An arraignment date for Lillywhite has not been set as of yet, and according to Getting, could be as soon as Friday.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or

3 Replies to “Misdemeanor charges authorized against Lillywhite in February crash

  1. If a regular mf did that then what?? This what leads to other bs u givin him a lil baby slap on the wrist for big boy ignorant fucked up shit ….. this dude ain’t shit w or without a badge he a liar and w.o his badge he a p***y for real …. Lil boy got his family protecting him … which why we don’t fuck w u non protecting n servin ass police

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