Courier-Leader & Flashes

Stolen purse at Walmart leads police on high speed chase

By Paul Garrod
Staff Writer

PAW PAW – A 14-year-old male from Kalamazoo faces numerous charges after he was involved in a stolen purse robbery at the Paw Paw Walmart, then led authorities on a high speed chase through Lawrence and eastbound Interstate 94, before finally crashing the vehicle on Westnedge Avenue at I-94 in Portage, where he was finally captured, as well as four other passengers in the vehicle, according to a press release from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.
Among the charges being sought include, strong arm robbery, fleeing and eluding police causing injury, possession of a stolen vehicle and resisting and obstructing police.
Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott reported that Sheriff’s deputies received a ‘Be on the Lookout’ dispatch for suspects in a robbery which had occurred Monday night at 6:15 at the Walmart in Paw Paw. A subject was following the suspect vehicle and reported the vehicle’s license plate to dispatchers. The license plate was run, and the vehicle was reported stolen.
Abbott said the suspect vehicle was located by deputies on Red Arrow Highway near 39th Street in Paw Paw Township. Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, which then fled. Deputies pursued the vehicle, which travelled westbound into the Village of Lawrence, before turning onto eastbound I-94. Abbott said deputies attempted to end the pursuit by deploying stop-sticks, however, the suspect’s vehicle maneuvered around them.
Deputies pursued the vehicle eastbound on I-94 for over 20 miles, where at times, the pursuit reached speeds of approximately 110 mph. The vehicle attempted to exit I-94 at the Westnedge exit in Portage. It ran a red light and collided with a motorist travelling on Westnedge Avenue. The motorist’s vehicle immediately caught fire, however, responding police were able to extinguish the fire. That motorist was transported to Bronson Methodist Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, according to Abbott.
Several occupants in the suspect’s car, including the driver, then fled on foot. They were all apprehended after short foot chases. The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit also assisted in apprehending one of the occupants who was hiding near the crash scene. The five occupants were all determined to be juveniles.
The suspect/driver received medical treatment and was later transported to the Kalamazoo Juvenile Detention Center on numerous charges. Additional charges will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office later for other occupants in the vehicle. Four occupants in the suspect’s vehicle were also transported to Bronson for treatment of minor injuries.
The investigation in ongoing and anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.
The Portage Police Department assisted in the incident.

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