WARREN (WWJ) – Two young men have been taken into custody after leading police on a wild, high-speed chase through three different counties.
Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said the incident started shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday on McKinley Street, when officers on patrol observed a white SUV driving erratically near West Side Academy. When officers attempted to perform a traffic stop, Woody said the vehicle sped away, initiating the pursuit.
While chasing the suspects, officers quickly learned that the SUV had been reported stolen out of Detroit just hours earlier, although details about the theft remain unclear. Southfield and Michigan State Police joined the chase once the SUV passed through Detroit city limits.
“Our officers discontinued the chase, at which point state police did pick up the chase,” Woody said. “We did then assist them, we hung back and allowed them to continue the chase. So, once it left our jurisdiction, we were just a secondary support unit.”
Reporting from above the scene in Chopper 950, WWJ’s Bill Szumanski said more than a dozen police cruisers were involved in the case.
“They came up the Southfield Freeway, onto Southfield Road and on I-696 over by the zoo on the eastbound side. Ever since we picked them up on the Southfield/M-10 interchange, they’ve been driving really hot, hot speeds. Right now, we’re going about 110 MPH across the ground and we’re keeping up with them pretty well,” Szumanski said.
When the chase was near the area of Woodward Avenue and Main Street, the suspects apparently threw something out of the SUV’s window.
“It was an object that appeared to be a gun to the officer that was directly behind the chase vehicle,” Woody said, adding that the alleged weapon has not yet been recovered.
Woody said several other vehicles were sideswiped, but no one was injured. Warren police joined the chase once it reached Macomb County. Officers were eventually able to get the upper hand on I-696 near Mound Road, after the suspects crossed a grassy median to the other side of the freeway.
Once the SUV was stopped, police approached with guns drawn, pulled the suspects from the vehicle and placed them in handcuffs just before 8:30 a.m.
Woody said although the suspects were taken into custody without further incident, they have been uncooperative with investigators. The suspects have given police multiple names and ages, Woody said, so investigators are still trying to figure out who they are. Until then, investigators are operating on the theory that the suspects are between 16- and 18-years-old.
“They’ll be turned over to the Detroit Police Department and it will be up to them as to what they’re going to do with them,” Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said. “We’ll talk with Detroit and since they were actively involved in the pursuit, we may turn the whole thing over to them just to make it easier to prosecute in one area.”
Woody said depending on the evidence, charges could include possession of a stolen vehicle, fleeing and alluding, and weapons offenses.
Shaw commended the work of everyone involved, saying the situation could have taken a drastic turn for the worse at any moment.
“No one was hurt. No officers were hurt, no troopers were hurt, no civilians were hurt and even the bad guys weren’t hurt,” he said.
Woody said everyone involved deserves a round of applause, especially the officers who first noticed the SUV.
“The protocol for us, unless it’s a major felony or somebody’s life is at risk, we have a strict no chase policy,” he said. “But just from their brazen attitudes and lack of regard, it would seem to me it was very much worth it. They stole a vehicle, they took it out and were reckless and careless in school zone. I don’t know if I need any more justification.”
An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information in the case is urged to contact police at 313-596-1616 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.