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Tag Archive | "Kent County Sheriff Department"

Newaygo woman dies in crash


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A Newaygo woman was killed last week when she failed to stop at a stop sign and was hit by another car.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred about 7:33 p.m. in Sparta Township. Deborah Dexter, 65, of the City of Newaygo, was driving a 2005 Jeep Cherokee east on 15 Mile, just west of Fruit Ridge, when she failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection and was struck by a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado that was traveling south on Fruit Ridge.

Dexter was pronounced dead at the scene. A toddler in the Jeep, Arabella Milligan, age 2, of Kent City, suffered facial lacerations and was transported to Spectrum Butterworth by Rockford Ambulance.

The driver of the Silverado, Andrew Duffy, 22, of Sparta Township, had facial lacerations, but was not transported to the hospital.

Assisting at the scene was the Sparta Fire Department, Kent City Fire Department, Rockford Ambulance, and Michigan State Police.

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Trufant woman killed in crash


A woman died Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, when the car she lost control of the car she was driving and hit a tree on Meddler, in Spencer Township. Post photo by J. Reed.

A woman died Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, when she lost control of the car she was driving and hit a tree on Meddler, in Spencer Township. Post photo by J. Reed.

A 53-year-old Trufant woman died Thursday morning when she crashed into a tree in Spencer Township.

According to Sgt. Corey Luce, with the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m. He said that according to a witness who was following, Luanne Crankshaw was headed northbound on Meddler near 20 Mile Road, on a patch of road covered with windblown snow, when she lost control of the 2005 Mazda Tribute she was driving and went off the east side of the road and hit a tree. The impact was on the driver’s side. Neither excessive speed nor alcohol appear to be factors.

No other passengers were in the vehicle.

The crash is still under investigation.

Spencer Township Fire and Rescue, Rockford Ambulance, and the Kent County Road Commission assisted at the scene.

Sgt. Luce said that is the second fatality this year. They had one in January, and one in February. By this time last year, there had already been five fatalities in Kent County. He said they had 24 between July and December, and also assisted other police agencies on two others, for a total of 31 fatalities in 2016.

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Victim in shooting suffered from mental disorder


Jonathan David Sper had been battling a mental disorder for about a decade. Photo from a NAMI page set up in his memory.

Jonathan David Sper had been battling a mental disorder for about a decade. Photo from a NAMI page set up in his memory.

By Judy Reed

The Kent County Sheriff Department and the family of Jonathan David Sper released a joint statement Thursday detailing some of the events that led to Jonathan’s death on Tuesday evening, January 24.

According to the statement, he had been diagnosed with bipolar schizoaffective disorder, and had been trying to rehabilitate himself for the last 10 years.

“We know that Jonathan is in a better place–a place where he no longer has to wrestle with mental illness,” said his family. “Even while dealing with this disorder, he was a great friend to many people. He was a dreamer, full of life, and had a fierce entrepreneurial spirit.”

Jonathan had been in jail for six days, on charges of ordering food and not paying for it, and not identifying himself to a police officer. Records at 61st District Court show his appearances before the judge were canceled several times due to being uncooperative. He finally was sentenced to the six days time served and released on Tuesday, January 24, just hours before the shooting.

Jonathan David Sper. Facebook photo from November 2016.

Jonathan David Sper. Facebook photo from November 2016.

Sper was reportedly dropped off in a manic state at his brother’s home in the 4000 block of Summit Ct, in Algoma Township, about 5 p.m. According to the statement, this is what happened next: “His brother did his best to confine Jonathan and to deescalate the situation with the intent of peacefully removing him from the property. After two hours, and a brief physical altercation, it was obvious that the brother needed assistance from law enforcement, at which point he called 911. The 911 operator was informed of Jonathan’s manic state. When the police arrived, the two brothers were already separated. The officers were again informed of Jonathan’s manic state from his brother. Jonathan was in the garage when the two officers arrived. Upon approaching Jonathan, the officers issued orders that were not followed. A struggle between the officers and Jonathan ensued which ended in Jonathan’s death.”

The Wyoming Police Department is investigating the shooting. It is standard procedure to call in another police department when an officer is involved in a shooting death. They have not released the name of the officer who fired the shots.

The Spers also asked for people to remember the officers involved. “In addition to the thoughts and prayers going out to our family, please keep in mind the officers who were involved in this tragic event. While serving our community and risking their lives every day, members of law enforcement must confront mental illness in its worst form. Although there are already tremendous efforts in this community to provide resources for the mentally ill, the Office of the Sheriff and the Sper family have a desire to advocate for continued improvement in how mentally ill people are handled by the criminal justice system and by community mental health providers so that this tragedy is not repeated. Through this advocacy, we hope to achieve a safer community for everyone, with a safety net for those living with mental illness, enabling them to live their lives in peace.”

The family will hold a memorial service at Ada Bible Church on Knapp St., Saturday, January 28, at 11 a.m. Visitation will be at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, so they can continue to support hundreds of thousands of families, advocate for better resources and tools for mental health providers, and lead awareness activities and events to encourage understanding and prevent situations like this from occurring in the future. A memorial fundraiser has been created for Jonathan Sper and can be found on NAMI’s website http://ifundraise.nami.org/campaign/sper.

 

 

 

 

 

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State police investigate attempted suicide


 

In the early morning of Monday, January 23, 2017, Troopers from MSP-Lakeview were assisting the Ionia County Sheriff’s Department to locate a man who had been in a yard threatening to shoot himself with a rifle in the Belding area. The subject left the scene after police were contacted. However, the investigation led troopers to a possible address in Oakfield Township where they might find him.

After they arrived on scene, troopers saw a man in a vehicle matching the given description. The man got out of the vehicle and troopers attempted to establish communication with him. The man immediately placed a rifle to his head and fired one round. There were no shots fired by responding officers.

After securing the scene, troopers performed first aid until medics arrived on scene. The man was transported by ambulance to Butterworth Hospital with a critical injury. The man, who was identified as the man they were looking for from the previous incident, is not expected to survive.

As of Wednesday, January 25, the police had no new information to pass along on the shooting.

Investigation into the incident is ongoing. Assisting at the scene was MSP-Rockford, Ionia County Sheriff Department, Kent County Sheriff Department, and Rockford Ambulance.

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Greenville man dies in crash


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A Greenville area man died Tuesday when his vehicle hit a tree in Ada Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they responded to the scene of the crash on Honey Creek Avenue, north of Knapp St., on Tuesday, January 17, at 4:53 p.m. They found that a 59-year-old man driving a black Volvo northbound on Honey Creek lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash.

The driver was identified as Patrick Wayne Cardenas, 59, of Eureka Township.

Cannon Township fire and rescue assisted at the scene.

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Break-in at Cedar Chest


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The Kent County Sheriff Department is currently investigating a breaking and entering complaint that occured at The Cedar Chest, 61 N Main Street, Cedar Springs.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, the incident was reported on January 3. The business was closed and locked, and the suspect(s) forced open a locked door. He said a small amount of items were taken from inside.

The Kent County Sheriff Department Scientific Support Unit processed the scene for physical evidence. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Kent County Sheriff Department at (616) 632-6100 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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Year in Review: Veteran’s memorial stolen and then recovered


The Kent County  Sheriff Department found the stolen monument and arrested suspects in the crime within days of its disappearance. Photo courtesy of the Kent County Sheriff Department.

The Kent County Sheriff Department found the stolen monument and arrested suspects in the crime within days of its disappearance. Photo courtesy of the Kent County Sheriff Department.

By Judy Reed

The monument dedicated to the memory of fallen hero SPC. Timothy Brown was stolen in October from Veterans Park, and suspects in the case were arrested within days by the Kent County Sheriff Department.

The Brown family discovered the monument was missing Saturday, October 22, and called police. Thieves broke the statue, taking the helmet, rifle, and dog tags. Only the boots were left on the memorial stone. The family appealed to the public to have the suspects return the statue, no questions asked, but it did not appear.

The monument dedicated to SPC. Timothy Brown has been repaired and restored to its rightful place in Veterans Park. Post photo by J. Reed.

The monument dedicated to SPC. Timothy Brown has been repaired and restored to its rightful place in Veterans Park. Post photo by J. Reed.

Police suspected the same culprits took the statue as broke into concessions at Skinner Field just a day prior. They posted surveillance footage of the break-in, featuring three young males, and asked media to share the photos. Within days, suspects in the thefts were arrested.

Police found the statue in a shed on the property of Tracy Lyn Coleman, 45, in the 100 block of E. Muskegon, along with several items in the home from the Skinner Field break-in.

Police arrested David Edgar Sommerville, 17, Austin Lee Coleman, 20, and Justin Lynn Rossman, 27, all of Cedar Springs, on Thursday, October 27. All three were charged in the Skinner Field break-in, and Sommerville and Rossman were charged with the monument theft. The older Coleman was arrested the next day on receiving and concealing stolen property. He reportedly admitted to police that he knew the rifle and helmet were stored in his shed, and that he had told one of the defendants to get it out of there. Rossman reportedly told police that Sommerville stole the rifle and helmet and hid them in the storage shed.

“We are proud of the work of our investigators as they worked tirelessly to bring SPC Brown’s Monument back into safe hands,” said the Kent County Sheriff Department in an announcement on their Facebook page.

Once the statue was recovered, DPW Director Tom Stressman had it repaired by a business in Minnesota that specializes in bronze monuments and memorials honoring law enforcement, fire/rescue, and the military.

City Manager Mike Womack said it would cost the city about $500 to have the $10,000 monument repaired, and they would probably seek to recover that cost as part of restitution on the part of the suspects.

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Year in Review: Fatal crashes


The fire spread from the pole barn to an adjacent RV. Photo by J. Reed.

The fire spread from the pole barn to an adjacent RV. Photo by J. Reed.

The Post ran stories on 17 different fatal crashes or accidents that occurred in the greater Cedar Springs area this year, including the one in the photo left, that occurred on Northland Drive at 15 Mile Road, on Tuesday, March 1. According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, a 1963 Ford Fairlane was headed north on Northland Drive about 4:12 p.m. Tuesday, when it crossed the centerline just north of 15 Mile Road, and was struck by a southbound Ford F150 truck.

The driver of the Ford Fairlane, Duane Schwartz, 68, of Sand Lake, and his passenger, Cathy Sutton, 57, of Gaines Township, were both ejected from the car and died of their injuries at the scene. The Ford Fairlane was not equipped with seatbelts. The driver of the truck, a Kentwood woman, was not injured. Slippery roads may have played a part in the crash.

This is just an example of one of the crashes that occurred this year. Please drive safely out there!

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Man dies in rollover crash


Jason Groenke, of Kent City, died in a rollover crash Sunday. Photo from his gofundme page.

Jason Groenke, of Kent City, died in a rollover crash Sunday. Photo from his gofundme page.

A 31-year-old Kent City man died Sunday when he crashed his vehicle on 18 Mile Road in Tyrone Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, a passing motorist reported at 1:31 a.m. that a vehicle had rolled over and ejected the driver. The investigation found that Jason Groenke, 31, was  headed east in the 3600 block of 18 Mile Road, in Tyrone Township, when he lost control of the vehicle and ran off the roadway. The vehicle then overturned and he was ejected. Police said he was not wearing a seatbelt. Rescue attempts were unsuccessful at the scene.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.

His family has set up a gofundme page to help pay for his cremation and a headstone. You can visit the page at https://www.gofundme.com/e7-funeral-cost-for-jason-groenke.

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Winter parking in effect


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The Kent County Sheriff Department Cedar Springs Unit would like to remind the residents of the City of Cedar Springs that winter parking is now in effect.

Under Ordinance No. 180 Section 36-86, no parking is allowed from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. from November 1 to April 1 on streets and areas that have a curb, such as Main Street and connecting side streets, and no parking within a distance of 20 feet of the center of a street for all other areas. The ordinance was created to help with snow removal.

There are public lots available to park in overnight, but cars must be moved daily. Lots can be found at the NE corner of Ash and Second; the SE corner of Elm and Second; the SW corner of Ash and First; and the NW corner of Cherry and First.

“Compliance with the ordinance is key in keeping the city roads clear during the winter months,” said Sgt. Jason Kelley, supervisor of the Cedar Springs Unit. “Your attention to and assistance with this matter is greatly appreciated.”

A violation of the ordinance is a civil infraction.

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