ST. JOSEPH — An Illinois man was taken to the Berrien County Jail on Tuesday after leading police on a wild chase from New Buffalo to St. Joseph.

Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit said Darrien Amar Conner, 21, was arrested on charges of fleeing and eluding police, carrying a concealed weapon, resisting and obstructing police, felony firearms, no valid operator’s license, improper registration and being a fugitive wanted on a warrant from Cook County, Ill.

Heit said the incident started at 12:34 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, when a sheriff’s deputy spotted a black SUV speeding east on I-94 near U.S. 12 in New Buffalo Township. The deputy’s radar clocked the vehicle at 88 mph, Heit said.

The driver failed to stop and continued speeding east on I-94, exiting at John Beers Road in Lincoln Township.

Heit said the vehicle then went north on Red Arrow Highway and, because the suspect was driving erratically and at a high rate of speed, the deputy discontinued the pursuit.

A short time later, another sheriff’s deputy spotted the suspect vehicle turning into a driveway in the 3500 block of Lakeshore Drive south of Hawthorne Avenue in St. Joseph Township. The driver got out and fled on foot, Heit said.

Deputy Paul Grenon and K-9 officer Maxx tracked the suspect behind several houses and into a wooded area, finding a boot along the way.

The Great Lakes Drone Co. was called in to assist in the search, and a Michigan State Police trooper spotted the suspect in the 2700 block of West Garden Lane in the village of Shoreham, where he was arrested without incident. Heit said a loaded firearm was found on the passenger seat of the suspect’s vehicle.

Heit said agencies assisting included Bridgman police, Chikaming Township police, St. Joseph Township police, and the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety.

Contact: jswidwa@TheHP.com, 932-0359, Twitter @HPSwidwa

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