ST. JOSEPH — Two people were taken into custody after a driver led police on an hour-long chase through several townships and cities Wednesday, April 28.
Berrien County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Robert Boyce reported that during the incident, the driver allegedly veered toward a police officer who was trying to place stop sticks in the road, nearly hitting the officer.
Boyce said Zachary Dawson Thain, 22, of Weesaw Township, was taken to the Berrien County jail on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, a vehicle; fleeing and eluding police, resisting and obstructing a police officer; and a probation violation warrant.
A passenger in his car, a 16-year-old girl, was taken to the Berrien County Juvenile Center, Boyce said.
He said detectives in the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, along with police from Niles and Bridgman, are working to determine whether the two were possibly involved in other criminal activity, including a car being stolen from a gas station in Three Oaks, numerous larcenies from vehicles at the Oakview Estates Mobile Home Community in Three Oaks, and larcenies from vehicles in Niles and Bridgman.
Boyce said Wednesday’s incident started just before 3 a.m. when sheriff’s deputies spotted a black Dodge Ram truck near Pucker and Pokagon Streets in Berrien Township that matched the description of a vehicle that had fled from police in Bridgman and Niles earlier in the evening while those officers were investigating possible thefts from vehicles.
Boyce said deputies tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver fled, leading police through Berrien Township, Niles Township, Buchanan Township, the city of Buchanan, Lake Township and Chikaming Township, into Weesaw Township.
During the pursuit, speed exceeded posted speed limits, sometimes approaching 100 mph, Boyce said.
He said when the driver veered toward a Bridgman police officer attempting to deploy stop sticks near the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and Brownstown Road, the officer had to jump over a guardrail to avoid being hit.
Just before 4 a.m., the suspect vehicle drove into a field off Minnich Road in Weesaw Township and the two occupants fled on foot.
Boyce said the 16-year-old girl was caught by sheriff’s deputies and the 22-year-old driver was caught by deputies with the help of K-9 Officer “Blek.”