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St. Joseph County Sheriff arrested on suspicion of OWI

St. Joseph County Sheriff Mark Lillywhite was arrested Sunday on suspicion of operating while intoxicated and firearm possession while intoxicated following a crash in Kalamazoo County.

By Robert Tomlinson
News Director

KALAMAZOO — St. Joseph County Sheriff Mark Lillywhite was arrested in Kalamazoo County Sunday morning on charges of suspected operating while intoxicated (OWI) and possession of a firearm while intoxicated following a crash that involved two vehicles.

According to Michigan State Police, the incident occurred around 2:18 a.m. Sunday on southbound U.S. 131 between XY and W. YZ Ave. in Schoolcraft Township. Police claim the driver and lone occupant of a southbound Chevy Traverse, reportedly driven by Lillywhite, rear-ended a Nissan Rogue going in the same direction. The collision, police claim, caused both vehicles to lose control and run off the roadway.

Occupants from both vehicles, according to police, suffered only minor injuries.

During police investigation, troopers reportedly detected signs of intoxication when talking with Lillywhite. Following standard field sobriety tests, Lillywhite was arrested in lodged in the Kalamazoo County Jail on suspicion of OWI at 6:24 a.m. He was released at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash, and occupants in both vehicles were wearing seatbelts. Police claim witnesses said the Traverse driven by Lillywhite did not appear to have any headlights on prior to the collision.

While MSP did not release Lillywhite’s name, pending court arraignment, a release from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office Monday identified the Chevy Traverse driver as Lillywhite.

The crash is still under investigation by MSP and review by the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office.

Troopers were assisted at the scene by the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department, Kalamazoo County Fire Authority, and Pride EMS.

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