NILES – The first of two people arrested after a September high-speed chase that crossed Berrien County on U.S. 12 was sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.
Calvin Cornell Edwards, 20, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to 160 days in jail with credit for 42 days already served. He must pay $258 in fines and costs.
The incident occurred in the early morning hours of Sept. 24 when police in Buchanan first attempted to stop the Jeep Cherokee he was a passenger in. The driver then fled south on Bakertown Road and then U.S. 12. A Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to stop the Jeep a short time later but the driver kept going through Galien and Three Oaks.
The news release at the time stated that New Buffalo police set up stop sticks on U.S. 12 near Lakeside Road. The vehicle, which was stolen from Highland Park, Illinois, went over the stop sticks which caused the tires to deflate. The driver eventually stopped when the vehicle hit a sign post on U.S. 12 near I-94 at which time he and two others fled.
Edwards and Chamaine Davis were eventually arrested aft being found hiding in thick vegetation with help from a LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit. A third person was never located. Davis will be sentenced in coming weeks. Police reported that the vehicle was traveling at up to 127 miles per hour.
Edwards said Monday that the three were headed to Benton Harbor where they planned to “lay low” after facing felony charges in Illinois.
Berrien County Trial Judge Charles LaSata initially considered sentencing Edwards to prison because of what he called Edwards’ “terrible” juvenile record of 17 prior convictions.
“You’re a young man with a terrible record, it is one of the worst juvenile records I’ve seen,” he said. “You’re a member of a Chicago gang traveling here with burglar tools to do no good.”
“You were going 127 miles per hour on U.S. 12 endangering everyone on the highway. I don’t see why not I shouldn’t send you to prison to send a message to people in Illinois.”
Defense attorney Edwin Johnson III reminded Judge LaSata that Edwards was in the back seat of the vehicle. “They were trying to lay low, they had warrants on them out of Illinois,” he said. “To send him to prison for his first felony is not in the best interests of him or the community.”
Johnson said Edwards, who is a member of the Gangster Disciples, hopes to get out of Chicago and move to Iowa where his sister works as a store manager.
LaSata eventually decided to forego prison and tack on more jail time before Edwards is sent back to Illinois where he’s wanted on a weapons charge.
“All your ties are in Illinois, the sooner you get back to Illinois, the better off everyone will be,” he said. “I’ll back off thoughts of prison.”
The judge also decided against Johnson’s request for a probation term. Johnson had asked for probation to get treatment for Edwards’ substance abuse problems as Edwards has been smoking marijuana daily since he was 13.
Davis, 25, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 25 on fleeing and eluding, resisting and obstructing police and receiving, concealing or possession of a stolen vehicle charges.