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Deputy injured while apprehending suspect

Man arrested for a Cedar Springs robbery last summer

by Judy Reed

A foot chase after a fleeing suspect has landed one of the men in jail and the other in the hospital.

Timothy John Werkema

Timothy John Werkema

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, they received a tip on January 12, about 9 a.m., that a suspect on the run from the law, and with several warrants out for his arrest, was at a home in the Camp Lake area near Sparta and Algoma Townships. Before deputies could get there, the suspect, Timothy John Werkema, 30, was seen leaving the residence in a white vehicle.

Deputy Scott Abbatoy spotted the vehicle near 15 Mile and Long Lake and made a traffic stop. The vehicle pulled over near the entrance to the mobile home park there, and fled on foot into the trailer park. Deputy Abbatoy chased him and caught up to the suspect. A physical altercation ensued, and both ended up on the ground as the Deputy attempted to take him into custody. Deputy Abbatoy broke his leg in the scuffle, but managed to hold Werkema on the ground until additional officers arrived. The suspect was then handcuffed and taken to the Kent County Correctional Facility.

One of the things Werkema was wanted for was a robbery in Cedar Springs in August 2012. He was the fourth and last suspect to be interviewed and charged for the robbery of three individuals at an apartment on Seventh St.

Werkema was arraigned on Monday, January 14, in 63rd District Court on several counts. He was arraigned on a domestic violence charge, 3rd offense, with a bond of $5,000 cash/surety; a simple assault and battery; habitual offender 3rd offense; assault/resisting/obstructing a police officer causing serious impairment with a bond set at $25,000; armed robbery with a $75,000 cash/surety bond; and habitual offender 4th offense. He also has charges of domestic violence and assault and battery in Ionia and Montcalm Counties.

He has a preliminary exam scheduled on the robbery charge for January 25 at 2 p.m.

Deputy Scott Abbatoy chased the suspect into the mobile home park near 15 Mile and Long Lake near Sparta. Post photo by J. Reed.

Deputy Scott Abbatoy chased the suspect into the mobile home park near 15 Mile and Long Lake near Sparta. Post photo by J. Reed.

Meanwhile, Deputy Abbatoy has been recovering in the hospital. According to the Sheriff’s Office, he underwent a 5-hour surgery Tuesday night on his injured leg. His knee has crushed cartilage and meniscus, and he has a rod from his ankle to his knee, in addition to several plates and screws in his lower leg to repair his broken bones. Overall, the doctors said the surgery went well.

There has been an outpouring of well wishes from people in the area, including those on the Kent County Sheriff Department Facebook page. Several newspaper articles have been written about the event, and he was interviewed by Channel 3 news Monday evening.

Deputy Abbatoy gave a statement to The Post Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m surprised by the amount of attention,” he said. “There’s always a chance of getting hurt in this job. But I appreciate the community’s concern and their comments for a speedy recovery.”

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