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Tag Archive | "Kent County Sheriff’s Office"

Two injured in Sparta crash


Two people were injured in this crash at 13 Mile Rd and Alpine Avenue in Sparta Township on Friday, October 12. Photo from woodtv.com.

Two were sent to the hospital last Friday, October 12, after a crash involving a car, a jeep, and a Road Commission truck in Sparta Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred about 10:44 a.m. The investigation revealed that a 2000 Toyota driven by John Vanbaren, 30, of Grand Rapids, was facing northbound at the stop sign on Alpine Ave at 13 Mile Rd. He pulled out in front of an eastbound 2018 Jeep Cherokee driven by Amber Morton, 23, of Sparta who had the right of way. The Toyota was struck on the driver’s side and pushed into a Kent County Road Commission vehicle that was stationary on west bound 13 Mile Rd waiting to turn southbound on to Alpine Ave.

The driver of the Toyota was transported to St. Mary’s by Rockford Ambulance with serious injuries. The driver of the Jeep was also transported to St. Mary’s by Rockford Ambulance with minor injuries.

Both drivers were belted. Alcohol and speed were not a factor.

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Woman killed in crash


Opal Fugitt. Facebook photo.

A Greenville woman died last Friday after a crash at the intersection of Northland Drive and 14 Mile Rd.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred about 8:30 p.m. September 7. A 2010 Ford Escape driven by Opal Fugitt, 74, of Greenville, was headed south on Northland Drive in the left hand turn lane to head east on 14 Mile, and a 2003 Honda CRV, driven by Joshua Lange, 28, of Cedar Springs, was headed northbound on Northland Drive, when the two vehicles collided in the intersection.

Both drivers were taken to the hospital by ambulance with apparent broken bones. Mrs. Fugitt later died at the hospital.

Police said neither alcohol nor drugs appear to be a factor. Courtland Township Fire Department and Rockford Ambulance both assisted at the scene.

A new left turn light was recently installed at that intersection. The Post asked police whether Mrs. Fugitt had a green arrow to turn, but they said the crash itself and cause are still under investigation.

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Motorcyclist injured in crash


A motorcyclist was sent to the hospital with serious injuries after a crash in Oakland Township Wednesday.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred on Wednesday, September 12, at about 11:19 a.m. at the intersection of Wabasis Ave NE and Holmden Dr NE.

Police said that a minivan, driven by Marie Lorraine Meyer, 41, of Rockford, was making a left turn off Holmden Dr on to southbound Wabasis, when a northbound motorcycle struck the minivan. 

The driver of the motorcycle, Brandon Alexander Gutierrez, 27, of Belding, sustained serious injuries, but they were not considered life-threatening. He was wearing a helmet.

Two minor passengers in the minivan sustained minor injuries and were sent to the hospital to be checked out. The driver of the minivan was not injured.

The crash remains under investigation. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office was assisted on scene by Rockford Ambulance, Oakfield and Courtland Fire Departments.

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Deputy receives life saving award


Captain David Kok, Road patrol commander with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office (left) presents Deputy Todd Frank with a Life Saving award for his rescue of an 11-year-old from a fire. Photo courtesy of Deputy Ryan Morin.

by Judy Reed

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Todd Frank received a Life Saving award last week for his rescue of an 11-year-old from a mobile home fire last summer.

Frank was sitting in his cruiser filling out a report in the North Park lot on July 22, 2017, when a woman came running up to his cruiser yelling that there was a fire in a trailer in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates (which abuts the parking lot he was in) and that people were still inside. Frank ran towards the area and could see smoke coming from the area. He alerted dispatch to send the fire department.

Frank said it was chaotic when he arrived on the scene at 336 Carol St.

“I started herding people together as swiftly as I could. It was a family of five, including a newborn,” explained Frank. A woman was trying to go back in the back door and there was heavy smoke rolling out. I grabbed her and told her she couldn’t go back in. She said her 11-year-old son was in there.”

The medal Deputy Frank received with his Life Saving award. Post photo by J. Reed.

The boy had reportedly been outside but gone back in to get a pet.

Frank went to the front door to try to get in, but a sofa was blocking his way. “The fire had started in the air conditioner, which caught the curtains on fire, then spread to the sofa, and they had tried to throw the sofa out the front door but it got stuck,” he explained.

Frank then found a window and smashed it and began yelling for the boy. He saw the boy run past then disappear in the smoke. “He was scared. I was afraid he was going to get smoke inhalation,” remarked Frank.

When the boy ran by again, Deputy Frank reached inside and grabbed him and pulled him outside.

“I did what any deputy would do under those circumstances,” he said. “Any of us would do the same thing.”

Frank was pleased that the story had a happy ending. The whole family, including the pets, got out safely. But that hasn’t always been the case at the fires that Frank has gone to.

Frank has been with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office for 22 years. But before he went to the Sheriff’s Office, he spent a few years with the Cedar Springs Police Department. His first week on the job, in the early 1990s, he went to the scene of a fire in the same mobile home park. He tried to save a baby that was inside. “She was already gone,” he said sadly. He wasn’t injured but was treated for smoke inhalation.

During his last week with the Cedar Springs Police Department, there was another fire in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates. This time two people died in the fire.

“For a long time I would hear a fire tone and just feel sick to my stomach,” he said.

During his tenure with the KCSO, Frank has been a school resource officer in Kent City, done community policing, served on road patrol in the Cascade area, and a myriad of other duties.

But serving here in Cedar Springs is like coming home.

“It’s been great for me. I already know a lot of people; the generations might be new, but the families are the same,” he remarked. He likes that it’s more rural. And since he lives in the area, he is serving his own community.

This is not first time Frank has been recognized for an action. He and another officer tackled a suicidal subject who was going to jump off the overpass on M57 that runs over US131. He received a commendation for that, too.

According to the Life Saver award for the fire rescue, “It was the quick and decisive actions by Deputy Todd Frank that ultimately saved the young boy’s life.”

But Frank doesn’t take all the credit for the fire rescue. “The fire department did a great job of putting the fire down,” he said. “I was just in the right place at the right time.”

Congratulations, Deputy Frank! Thank you for all that you and your fellow deputies do to keep our community safe.

 

 

 

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Woman injured in crash


A Cedar Springs woman was critically injured last Thursday when her vehicle was hit from behind by another vehicle.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred on Thursday, August 16, about 6:47 p.m. in the 15000 block of Algoma Avenue, in Solon Township.

The investigation showed that a 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada, driven by Cynthia DeLoof, 42, of Newaygo, was traveling northbound on Algoma when her vehicle collided with a 2008 Chrysler 300, also traveling northbound. Witnesses reported that the Chrysler, driven by Lila DeLine, 36, of Cedar Springs, had slowed or stopped on the roadway preparing to turn and was rear-ended by the at fault vehicle.

The driver of the Chrysler was transported by ambulance to the hospital in critical condition. The driver of the at-fault vehicle refused medical treatment at the scene. Alcohol was not a factor in the accident. 

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Solon Township Fire Department and Rockford Ambulance.

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Parents charged in baby’s death


Seth Michael Welch

Tatiana Elena Fusari

The parents of a 10-month-old child who died Thursday, August 2, in Solon Township have been charged with homicide-felony murder and first-degree child abuse.

Seth Michael Welch, 27, and Tatiana Elena Fusari, 27, found their infant daughter Mary unresponsive Thursday and called authorities at 12:06 p.m. to their home at 16509 Algoma Avenue, known by many in the community as Blackacre Farm. The baby was pronounced dead at the scene.

An officer at the scene reported that the baby’s eyes and cheeks were sunken into her head. 

Deputies executed a search warrant for evidence of child abuse/neglect causing the child’s death. The couple told police that they noticed their daughter’s skinny appearance the month prior. Fusari reportedly told police they did not seek medical help because they did not want Child Protective Services called, had a lack of faith and trust in medical services and cited religious reasons.

The parents were taken into custody August 3, after an autopsy revealed the cause of death was ruled as malnutrition/dehydration due to neglect on the part of the adult caregivers. The baby’s death was ruled a homicide, and the Kent County Prosecutor authorized charges on August 5. 

Welch and Fusari were arraigned on Monday, August 6. Bail was denied for both, and they have a probable cause hearing set for August 20 at 63rd District Court at 8:45 a.m.

The couple’s other two children were placed with family members.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said they had only responded to the home once before on a matter unrelated to child welfare. 

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff’s Office at 616-632-6357 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

ORIGINAL STORY

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Car show draws crowds


The Cosplay Crusaders were a big hit at the museum car show last Saturday.

This car was shown in its original condition. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The annual car show at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum was a huge success last Saturday, July 28, bringing in lots of vehicles and people to their biggest fundraising event of the year. 

“We made $5,000 this year, the best we’ve ever done,” said Sharon Jett, Director at the Museum.

Steve Quigley won best of show, with a 1987 Buick.

Special guests included the Cedar Springs Fire Department, and DJ JoJo Girard from radio station WFGR 98.7. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office also was on hand with one of their tactical vehicles.

Also on hand were the Cosplay Crusaders, as part of a fundraiser organized by Ryan Hess, 8, and Cub Scout pack 3220. Kids were excited to see Thor, the Black Panther, and the Dark Knight of Michigan with his bat bike. For a donation, anyone could sit in the bat bike. Proceeds raised will go to Howard Christensen Nature Center, as will the proceeds from the Cub Scouts beef stick sale, and Ryan’s pop can drive.

“It looks like we will be donating a little over $400 to the nature center,” said Dana Hess, Ryan’s mom.

“Everyone loved the superheroes and the cub scouts sold all their beef sticks,” noted Jett. She also said that Maranatha Baptist Church gave out almost 600 hot dog lunches and dozens of donuts. 

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Two crashes in two days


 

This crash occurred at 15 Mile and Shaner Ave on Sunday, July 8, when a motor home hit a Volvo. Photo courtesy of Ron Parker.

By Judy Reed

There were two crashes in just over 48 hours at a rural intersection in Courtland Township this week.

The first crash occurred at 15 Mile Rd and Shaner Ave on Sunday, July 8, at about 12:25 p.m. According to Deputy Tim Essig, with traffic and safety at the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred when an 80-year-old from Whitmore Lake, Michigan, who was traveling westbound on 15 Mile Rd, ran the stop sign at Shaner Avenue and collided with a Volvo station wagon driven a by a 52-year-old from Grand Rapids. Neither driver was injured.

This crash occurred at 15 Mile and Shaner Ave on Tuesday, July 10, when a Ford Focus ran the stop sign and was hit by a Dodge Ram truck. Photo courtesy of Ron Parker.

The second crash occurred on Tuesday, at 5:53 p.m. Deputy Essig said that the crash occurred when a 61-year-old woman from Grand Rapids, who was traveling eastbound on 15 Mile in a Ford Focus, failed to stop at the stop sign at Shaner Avenue and was hit by a 21-year-old Cedar Springs man driving a 2010 Dodge Ram. The drivers only suffered minor injuries. Neither were transported to the hospital. 

Both Courtland Fire and Rockford Ambulance assisted at the scenes of both crashes.

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Welcome, Sgt. Todd Probst


Sgt. Todd Probst is the new supervisor of the Cedar Springs Unit of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Have you seen this smiling face around town yet? It’s Sgt. Todd Probst, the new supervisor of the Cedar Springs Unit of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. Probst took over last week after Sgt. Jason Kelley took a job in the detective bureau.

Probst grew up in Lowell, a town he said is similar to Cedar Springs, and graduated from Lowell High School in 1989. After high school, he worked full time and attended Grand Rapids Community College and graduated from the police academy in 1994. He was then hired by the Lowell Police Department where he worked part time from 1994-95, and was then hired by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office in January of 1996 as a road patrol deputy.

While working as a deputy, he worked in many different areas. Jobs he held included: Road patrol deputy in various areas across the county; Field training officer; TAC team member (Tactical apprehension and confrontation team); traffic and safety deputy; and as a community policing deputy, where he helped establish the Shop with a Sheriff program.

Probst was promoted to Sergeant in 2004, and worked with Road patrol and Park police. In 2013 he began work as a detective sergeant. Until his move to Cedar Springs, he was the Family Services Unit Supervisor, where he supervised detectives in the unit; Children’s Assessment Center; Warrants; Friend of the Court; and was liaison with three in-house Child Protective/Adult Protective Service Workers. He also was on the Presidential Motorcade Detail.

What was attractive about moving to the Cedar Springs Unit? “I was looking for a new opportunity, and it has a small-town atmosphere like I grew up in,” he said with a smile. “Being Cedar’s Sergeant is almost like being chief of a small town.”

Probst noted that another attractive quality is that Cedar Springs is known for its community involvement. “It will give me an opportunity to work with the community and with city leaders—those people we serve. With my background in community policing, it’s something I enjoy,” he explained.

When the Post asked what he has been seeing in the community, Probst said he’s already seeing that community involvement firsthand. “Business leaders and citizens really seem to be vested in community,” he said.

Probst noted that he would continue to work on what was already established here by Sgt. Kelley—mainly continuing to grow a good relationship between the community and the police department. “Everyone says they enjoy having us here and they feel like they are getting great service. The deputies also enjoy getting out and meeting the community in a non-traditional role by being a member of the community themselves,” he said. “That’s not a typical opportunity for a road patrol deputy. It’s more like community policing.”

The bottom line is that Probst wants people to feel safe here. “I want to make it a safe community, where people feel safe to go, and be a police department that the community can trust,” he said.

When he is not working, Probst is busy with his three daughters and their sports activities. His oldest will play soccer at Aquinas next year; he has another that will be a sophomore next year and plays for a travel soccer team; and has another that will be a fourth-grader next year. He said he likes all sports, but when he gets the chance, he really likes to play golf. 

What else does he want the people of Cedar Springs to know? “Everyone has been very welcoming. I’m ready to jump into this role. My door is always open. I want people to get to know me, and I want to get to know them,” he said.

Other 2018 staffing changes in the Cedar Springs Unit:

Deputy Nathan Stanton, who was a night shift Cedar Springs deputy, has been assigned as a district patrol deputy out of the north substation. Deputy Caitlin Carey will take his position as a Cedar deputy on nights. 

Deputy Ryan Wheeler, who was also a night shift Cedar Deputy, was promoted to Sergeant on May 8. Deputy Craig Holbrook will now take his place on the night shift.

Day shift deputies are Todd Frank and Pat Kent.

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Have you seen this man?


The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating a man wanted by both the U.S. Marshal Service and the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Wade Thompson, 50, is a parole absconder with a lengthy criminal record who has served time in prison for various charges including retail fraud, felonious assault, and fleeing and eluding police. He has recently been stealing large quantities of liquor in Kent County, typically totaling around $250 per theft, according to police.

If you encounter him, call 911 and do not attempt to apprehend him, as he has been known to evade apprehension with no regard for the safety of others. If you have information that can lead agents to his location, you can call Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

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