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Tag Archive | "Kent County Sheriff Department"

Three car crash sends teen to hospital


A woman that ran a red light caused a three-car crash at 17 Mile and White Creek on Wednesday, September 14. Post Photo by J. Reed.

A woman that ran a red light caused a three-car crash at 17 Mile and White Creek on Wednesday, September 14. Post Photo by J. Reed.

A three-car crash at the corner of 17 Mile and White Creek sent a young teen to the hospital last week.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred about 4:34 p.m., Wednesday, September 14, at the intersection of 17 Mile Road and White Creek Avenue.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of KCSD Cedar Springs unit, a 2002 Dodge Stratus, driven by Jamie Wachter, a 46-year-old White Cloud woman, was travelling eastbound on 17 Mile Road and disregarded the red light at White Creek. That vehicle struck a southbound 2013 Ford Explorer driven by Tracy Bucholtz, a 53 year old Pierson woman, causing her vehicle to strike a third vehicle. The third vehicle, a 2016 Chevrolet Equinox, was northbound and driven by Karen Pursley-Wood, a 48-year-old Cedar Springs woman. After colliding with vehicle 3, the Ford Explorer flipped onto its side, coming to rest on the driver side.

A passenger in the Dodge Stratus, a 14-year-old White Cloud female, was transported to DeVos Children’s Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Wachter, who ran the red light in the Stratus, was cited for Careless Driving.

Cedar Springs Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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Officials warn of deadly drug


This is a photo of pure carfentanil. Just touching it can be lethal.

This is a photo of pure carfentanil. Just touching it can be lethal.

The Kent County Sheriff Department is warning people about a deadly new drug turning up in Kent County.

Over the past two weeks, in three separate cases, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office has encountered heroin that likely contained the drug carfentanil. Carfentanil is a Schedule II controlled substance opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times stronger than fentanyl.

Carfentanil is typically used as a tranquilizer for large animals such as elephants. This substance could lead to tens-to-hundreds of overdoses in a short amount of time within the same geographic region. Administering Narcan, which is commonly known to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, to someone that has ingested carfentanil may not be effective and additional doses may be required.

If you come across an unknown substance and chemical, use extreme caution as people and animals can absorb carfentanil and fentanyl via skin contact, inhalation, oral exposure or ingestion. Symptoms such as disorientation, coughing, sedation, respiratory distress or cardiac arrest typically occur within minutes of exposure. Incidental contact with this substance can also be lethal.

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Sand Lake Bank robbery suspect arrested after crashing car


A bank robbery occured at the Sand Lake branch of Independent Bank on Thursday, August 18. Post photo by L. Allen.

A bank robbery occured at the Sand Lake branch of Independent Bank on Thursday, August 18. Post photo by L. Allen.

Bank robbery suspect, Edward Lucas

Bank robbery suspect, Edward Lucas

A bank robbery suspect was pulled from a burning vehicle last week Thursday by Kent County Sheriff Deputies after he crashed his car and the engine compartment burst into flames.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, a white male entered the Sand Lake branch of Independent Bank at 5 S. 3rd Street, about 4:06 p.m., Thursday, August 18. He passed the teller a note demanding money, and the teller placed an undisclosed amount of money in an envelope. As he exited the bank with the money, the silent alarm was activated, and 911 was called. He was last seen driving southbound on Northland Drive.

A detailed description of the suspect and his vehicle were given to dispatchers. His description was relayed to all police units in the northern part of Kent County as well as to Montcalm County dispatch.

Twenty minutes later, a vehicle that matched the description of the suspect’s vehicle was spotted on 17 Mile Road in Cedar Springs.  The deputy was able to see the driver, who also matched the description that had been broadcasted. The vehicle then ramped onto southbound US-131 as the deputy followed. Once a second deputy caught up to the first, they made a traffic stop, but the suspect then sped away, continuing south on US-131. Police said the vehicle reached speeds between 80- 90 mph before slowing down and exiting on Post Dr. The suspect vehicle turned onto Post Drive heading toward Belmont.

A very short time later the suspect’s vehicle appeared to cross into oncoming traffic, side swiping a Jeep Liberty before hitting a second vehicle head on. The suspect’s vehicle then left the roadway and rolled two or three times before coming to a rest.

As Deputies approached the suspect’s vehicle, the engine compartment burst into flames. Deputies were able to pull the suspect from the vehicle and use an extinguisher to extinguish the fire.

A Michigan State Police Sergeant who saw the crash, said that it looked like the suspect appeared to deliberately stray across the centerline to crash into the other vehicle.

Two individuals from the vehicle that was hit head on were treated at the scene and released. One person from the Jeep Liberty was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. The suspect was transported with much more severe injuries to Butterworth Hospital, where it was determined that he broke his leg, injured his neck, and suffered a severe contusion to his chest.

The local FBI office will be handling the actual robbery and the Kent County Sheriff Department will be handling the pursuit. Also assisting on scene was the Michigan State Police and Plainfield Township Fire and Rescue.

According to paperwork filed in Federal Court this week, the suspect is Edward Ray Lucas, 49, who also was convicted of bank robbery in 1999 in Michigan.

The Sand Lake Police Department posted the following thanks on their Facebook page: “The Sand Lake Police Department and the entire community would like to give a huge shout out to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department for their quick response and apprehension of a possible bank robber that occurred at the Independent Bank in the village of Sand Lake. God Bless each and every one of you.”

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Bicyclist dies of crash injuries


David Draugalis

David Draugalis

 

A Walker man who was struck by a vehicle while bicycling on the White Pine Trail has died of his injuries.

According to Sgt. Corey Luce, of the Kent County Sheriff Department, David Draugalis, 49, of Walker, was bicycling southbound on the White Pine Trail about 7 p.m., on Tuesday, August 9, when he was hit by a westbound pickup truck while crossing 16 Mile Road.

A witness bicycling behind him reported that Draugalis did not stop at the stop sign before proceeding into the intersection.

Another witness, who was traveling behind the pick up truck, verified that the driver of the pickup, Jesse Foster, 36, of Cedar Springs was not speeding.

Draugalis was sent to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital with what appeared at the time to be non-life-threatening injuries. However, some internal injuries were discovered at the hospital. MLive.com reported that he suffered from a ruptured aorta, collapsed lung, broken pelvis, broken arm, and road rash.

Draugalis died of his injuries on Sunday, August 21, 12 days after the crash. He was married just a few weeks ago to his wife, Nita.

Sgt. Luce said that the case is still under investigation.

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Rockford rowing coach arrested


 

Timothy Warren Vallier

Timothy Warren Vallier

The head coach of the men’s rowing team at Rockford Public Schools has been fired and arraigned on charges after allegedly recording videos of female athletes changing their clothes.

Timothy Warren Vallier, 30, was arrested on Friday, July 8, and has been arraigned in 63rd District Court on two obscenity charges—one charge of child sexually abusive commercial activity and one charge of possession of child sexually abusive material; and two charges of using a computer in the commission of a crime.

Rockford Public School Superintendent Mike Shibler contacted the Kent County Sheriff Department on the morning of July 8 after receiving a call from one of the crew (rowing) parents informing him that a video camera had been found in a crew vehicle with inappropriate footage.

Two assistant coaches in the vehicle reportedly saw the camera, and when one of the girls got curious and looked at it, found footage of two female athletes changing their clothes inside the changing room area of the Rockford Crew House located at 5501 Jupiter Ave., in Plainfield Township.

In a note sent home to parents, Shibler said that he contacted the Kent County Sheriff’s Department immediately, and turned over the camcorder within the hour.

“Once I became aware of the video, my first priority was to contact law enforcement in the hopes of identifying and getting the perpetrator off the streets to protect our students,” he said. “Thanks to the excellent work of detectives, this happened within 12 hours of the district learning about the video. Law enforcement asked that this be kept confidential while they conducted their investigation.”

Vallier reportedly admitted to police that he put the camcorder in the girls changing room on multiple occasions. He also said he has done this several times over the last few years, and has videos of other female athletes.

He is being held in the Kent County Jail on $100,000 cash/surety bond. The case is still under investigation.

“My thoughts are with those affected,” wrote Shibler in his letter to parents. “The fact that this can happen despite all of our safeguards to protect students is extremely troubling.”

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GR man injured in crash


A Grand Rapids man suffered internal injuries after he ran a stop sign at 14 Mile and Pine Island and was struck by another vehicle. Post photo by J. Reed.

A Grand Rapids man suffered internal injuries after he ran a stop sign at 14 Mile and Pine Island and was struck by another vehicle. Post photo by J. Reed.

A Grand Rapids man was ejected from his jeep Tuesday after he failed to stop at a stop sign in Algoma Township and was t-boned by another vehicle.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred about 4:20 p.m., Tuesday, July 5, at the intersection of 14 Mile Road and Pine Island. The 1999 jeep, driven by Randolph Galaszewski, 55, of Grand Rapids, was eastbound on 14 Mile and did not stop at the sign at Pine Island. He was then struck by a southbound 2000 Ford pickup driven by Matthew Wudkewych, 21, of Algoma Township.

The impact of the crash caused the driver of the jeep to be ejected. He was transported to Butterworth Hospital by Rockford Ambulance and is being treated for internal injuries. Police reported he was not wearing a seatbelt.

Neither the driver of the pickup nor his passenger, Hannah Krumenacker, 19, of Alpine Township, was injured.

Police said alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash, which is still under investigation.

Algoma Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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Deputy Tom McCutcheon chosen as school resource officer


 

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Tom McCutcheon will be on the job 40 hours a week at Cedar Springs Public Schools next fall as the new school resource officer.

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Tom McCutcheon will be on the job 40 hours a week at Cedar Springs Public Schools next fall as the new school resource officer.

By Judy Reed

When students return to school in September, there will be a new face there to greet them. Deputy Tom McCutcheon was recently selected as the new school resource officer (SRO) for Cedar Springs Public Schools. The position is through a partnership with the Kent County Sheriff Department, which the Board of Education approved on June 6.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the KCSD Cedar Springs unit, interviews were held at the Cedar Springs Public Schools Administration Building on June 28, where eight members of the school had an opportunity to interview five candidates from the Sheriff Department for the position. As a result of the interviews, Deputy Tom McCutcheon was selected as the Cedar Springs School Resource Officer.

Deputy McCutcheon began his career with the Kent County Sheriff Department in 1993. During this time Deputy McCutcheon has gained extensive knowledge and experience in Community Policing. Deputy McCutcheon spent many years as a D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Instructor, speaking in many different school districts, including Cedar Springs.

“While teaching D.A.R.E., you were never at the same school two days in a row, but you still felt like you were part of something that helped kids change and was a good influence in their life,” noted McCutcheon.

The Post asked him why he wanted the SRO position in Cedar Springs. “I hope to be a positive influence to the young people there,” he explained. “A lot of people think of security, and students feeling safe. But it’s more. I want to be a part of the school. It’s like what being a community policing officer is; you try to be proactive. If there is criminal activity going on, and people look up to you and trust you, you can help reduce a lot of that.”

Deputy McCutcheon has a passion for serving kids and has had immense involvement in school and communities. He has served in the Comstock Park School District as a football and girls varsity softball coach. He started a local Boy Scout troop and established KOPS (Kids & Officers Productive Society, a program centered around helping disadvantaged youth build self-esteem to become productive students).

Deputy McCutcheon was recognized as the Kent County Sheriff Department Deputy of the Year in 2007, and School Officer of the year by the West Michigan Crime Prevention Association. He has also served as president of that same group.

The School Officer of the Year award was given to him for his work in the KOPS program. McCutcheon is proud of the work he did in that program. He said he had been working with the same young man over and over at East Kentwood’s alternative high school, who kept getting into trouble. He spoke with the principal, and they formed the program to help troubled youth get back on track. “Over the four years of the program, we had multiple grads go on to college or work; students go back to regular high school; and students that had no more involvement in crime,” he explained.

McCutcheon is excited to begin his new position in Cedar Springs in August, where he will be on campus 40 hours a week. “I am excited and looking forward to the challenge of getting to know them (the students) and them getting to know me. I’ll do what I can to help them succeed. It’s just another piece of the puzzle—me doing what I can to help them achieve their goals,” he said.

The position will be jointly funded by the school and the county. The Kent County Sheriff Department offered to fund 30 percent of the program. The outstanding cost to the district would be approximately $76,000, after the Sheriff Department’s contribution. The cost would cover wages and benefits for 40 hours per week for the deputy; all standard issued deputy equipment; a Kent County Sheriff car, fully equipped, fueled and maintained; and all police training and supervision.

“We look forward to our partnership with the Kent County Sherriff Department and a focus on school safety and security throughout our district,” said Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn. “We know through our surveys of staff and parents that they view safety and security as a priority for our CSPS and we do too! This initiative is just one way we are responding to that feedback. We now join many districts in Kent County in the SRO program and know it will serve us well.”

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Event connects kids with bikes


Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser helped fit kids with bicycle helmets at the Blessing of the Bicycles at The Springs Church last Saturday. Courtesy photo.

Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser helped fit kids with bicycle helmets at the Blessing of the Bicycles at The Springs Church last Saturday. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

The second annual Blessing of the Bicycles, held last Saturday, June 25, at The Springs Church, was a big hit with kids and families in the community.

“I had a lot of people tell me they and their kids were having a great time,” said organizer Johna Alexander.

Kids who did not have a bike were able to choose from about 50 used ones, and another six new ones were given away through a drawing.

Dozens of kids and families turned out to pick out a good used bike and/or enjoy the festivities. Courtesy photo.

Dozens of kids and families turned out to pick out a good used bike and/or enjoy the festivities. Courtesy photo.

Dozens of kids and parents showed up to take advantage of the free bicycles, helmets, t-shirts, face painting, bubbles, and chalk art. The Kent County Sheriff Department and Cedar Springs Fire Department were there to interact with the kids, and minor bike repairs were also available. A clown and upbeat music rounded out the celebration.

Pastor Cherri’ Kerr also said a blessing over the bicycles.

“I really want to thank everyone that donated and everyone that helped make this year’s event a success,” said Alexander.

She added that in preparation for next year, she will be taking bicycle donations all year long. She said that they can be dropped off at The Springs Church, or you can call her at 616-799-2850 for pickup.

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Three injured in crash


According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, three people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries on Friday morning, June 17.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, three people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries on Friday morning, June 17.

Three people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries on Friday morning, June 17, after a crash in Courtland Township.

The crash occurred about 9:08 a.m. on Myers Lake Avenue, south of 15 Mile Road.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, a red 1995 Chevy extended cab Silverado driven by James Byrne, 75, of Greenville, was southbound on Myers Lake Avenue. A black 1998 Chevy Cavalier driven by Jarrid Thrush, 24, of Edmore, was northbound on Myers Lake Avenue. The black Cavalier crossed the centerline and struck the Chevy Silverado head on.

The occupants of the Silverado—driver James Byrne and front seat passenger Jennifer Carroll, 50, of Sand Lake—suffered serious injuries and they were transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth Hospital. The driver of the Cavalier, Jarrid Thrush, also suffered serious injuries and was transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth Hospital.

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Deputy pulls driver from burning car


Kent County Sheriff Deputy Ron (Skip) Kimbrough

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Ron (Skip) Kimbrough

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Ron (Skip) Kimbrough was stuck in the southbound traffic backup on US131, just south of West River Drive on Tuesday, June 21, about 8:25 a.m., when another driver pulled up next to him and told him about a serious car crash 10-15 car lengths behind him. Deputy Kimbrough then turned his patrol car around and went in search of the crash.

He soon located the scene. A vehicle had struck the back of a small pickup truck , and the truck was on fire. The female driver was pinned in and unconscious. The other driver was able to exit her vehicle on her own and was treated for minor injuries at the scene.

Three other motorists exited their vehicles and assisted the deputy by smashing the driver’s door window out. They pulled the driver out through the driver’s door window and laid her on the pavement away from the car.

Both vehicles were quickly engulfed in flames until the Plainfield Fire Department extinguished the fire.

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