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Tag Archive | "Spectrum Butterworth Hospital"

Prosecutor rules on M-37 road rage shooting


By Judy Reed

According to a statement released by Kent County Christopher Becker last week, charges will not be brought against the man who shot two people during a road rage incident on M-37 in May, killing one and injuring the other.

“The prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Robert (Chipman) did not act in self-defense,” explained Becker. “Based on all of the facts and evidence we have at this time, we cannot meet this burden.”

The shooting occurred on May 22, on southbound M-37 across from the Sparta Chevrolet Dealership in Sparta Township. According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, two 911 callers reported at about 3:20 a.m. that two people had been shot and were laying on the ground near a stopped vehicle along the road. At least one of the callers reported that the shooting was the result of some type of road rage incident.

When the Kent County Sheriff Department arrived, they found two men with gunshot wounds near the stopped vehicle. Donald Dudley, 20, of Bailey, Michigan, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man, Benjamin Dudley, 18, also from Bailey, Michigan, was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital and in critical condition.

Police also found a third male subject who stated that he had shot both of the men. Robert Chipman Jr., 43, from Newaygo, Michigan, has a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL).

One of the 911 callers was Aja Cruz, 22, of Wyoming. She reported to police that she had been with the brothers at their home on Bailey Road that day, and she was driving Donald to his place of work at the Shell gas station on 44th Street in Wyoming when the road rage incident occurred. According to her account, the pickup truck, driven by Chipman, who was also on his way to work, came up close behind her, and she had trouble seeing because his lights were blinding her. She said that Benjamin Dudley, who was sitting in the front, waved at Chipman to go around. She then slowed to allow him to pass. She said the man in the pickup then honked his horn, flashed his brights, and eventually passed her.

She said that after the truck passed, it braked in front of her and slowed to about 30 mph, so she tried to pass, but it then sped up again, and wouldn’t allow her to pass. She said it then sped up again. Cruz said this made the Dudley brothers angry, and they told her to speed up and catch the truck. She said she increased her speed to about 80 mph, but the truck continued to pull away, and finally slowed for a yellow light, which allowed her to catch up. The brothers were mad, and Benjamin wanted to throw a water bottle at the truck, but she wasn’t sure if he did. She passed the truck at abut 65 mph; the truck then passed her again, and then suddenly pulled off the side of the road and stopped. Donald and Benjamin told her to pull in behind him, which she did.

Cruz said before she even had her car in park, the Dudleys both jumped out and went to the truck. She stayed in the car.

Benjamin Dudley’s statement mirrored what Cruz told deputies.

Prosecutor Becker said that Chipman’s statement surprisingly didn’t vary much from what the other two said, other than who was to blame for the driving. Chipman told officers that Cruz pulled out in front of him on M-37. He said there was enough room, but that the car was swerving all over the road as it got up to 55 mph. He said he couldn’t pass since it was a no-passing area on M-37. He could tell they were agitated, because someone tried to wave him around. He decided not to pass because it wasn’t safe. When they slowed down to 30 mph, it appeared they expected him to go around, so he said he flicked his bright lights to acknowledge they were trying to get him to pass, and when he got in the passing lane, he sped up and passed. He honked as he was passing to let them know he was passing, he said.

Chipman said he then got up to about 100 mph trying to get away from the car, but it ended up on his tail. As it passed, someone threw something out the window at his truck. The car then slammed on its brakes. Chipman passed the car again, then decided to stop on the side of the road and call 911 and get the license plate of the vehicle because of what had happened. He had to stop because his phone was in his lunchbox. The car then pulled up behind him. He said he only had enough time to get his feet on the ground before he was grabbed and pushed back into his truck. He described being held by one and hit by the other one. He thought a third person was approaching with something in his hand, and it was then that he decided to use his weapon, a Smith and Wesson 40 caliber semi-automatic pistol that was tucked in the small of his back.

Cruz reported yelling between the three, with the Dudleys calling the driver a b— for his driving, and seeing the driver swing at Donald. Donald then pushed Chipman against the truck and Benjamin joined him. She then reported hearing a gunshot and saw Benjamin go flying into the road and drop on the ground on his back. She then heard two more shots and saw Donald falling to his left side, holding his face.  She said she heard the driver yelling, “What now b–?” as she quickly drove a safe distance down the road to call police.

Benjamin reported that his brother told him to beat up the driver, and that he (Donald) was going to beat him up, too. However, Benjamin said he wasn’t looking to fight.

Benjamin suffered three wounds. One shot went through the left forearm and passed through into his left hip; the other shot went into the left side of his chest and continued on into the right side of his back. Donald was shot in the face. The bullet went into his left cheek and traveled through his brain and lodged in the right occipital region.

According to Becker, the appropriate use of deadly force in self-defense is a factual question and each case is different. He said the main question in this case is whether Chipman had an honest and reasonable belief that he was going to be hurt on the side of M-37 that morning. A jury would be advised to look at the circumstances as they appeared to Chipman that morning.

The car was not forced to stop behind him; there was a strange car behind him on a deserted dark road in the middle of the night; there had been reckless driving between the two vehicles; something had been thrown at his truck; and the Dudley brothers approached him with hostile intent—something that both Cruz and Benjamin Dudley affirmed. They assaulted Chipman, and he had nowhere to go; and he felt there was a third person approaching to join the assault. That was when he decided to use his weapon.

“The law does not require him to be beaten to the point of death or unconsciousness before he can resort to deadly force,” Becker added. “It only requires that the person honest and reasonably believe it is needed at the time he acted, given all of the circumstances. Given the facts presented here, it is impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the actions of Robert were not lawful self-defense. Therefore, no charges will be filed.”

Becker noted that this is the second road rage incident in the last year where someone has died. The other occurred in September 2016 at Kalamazoo and 52nd St. “Both cases show the risks inherent with confronting other individuals over their driving. Two people died over such arguments, another may be paralyzed. To what ends?” remarked Becker.

“No good can come from pulling over to the side of the road and confronting another driver about what they did/did not/or should have done with their driving. Find a public place to pull over; go inside a gas station, store, anywhere there are other people who may assist or be witnesses and call the police. Let police handle the situation, do not deal with individuals in another vehicle alone on the side of the road. Nothing beneficial will occur by confronting another driver.”

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Marijuana wax operation causes fire


Fire crews at the scene of a house fire after an explosion on Lime Lake Dr on June 21. Photo by Cheryl Barrigear on WZZM13.com.

By Judy Reed

Neighbors called 9-1-1 after hearing an explosion on Wednesday evening, June 21, at 13386 Lime Lake Dr.

According to Solon Township’s Deputy Fire Chief Chris Paige, they were called out at 10:59 p.m. The first unit arrived on scene to see heavy smoke, with flames showing in the main floor of the home. The three occupants of the home were already out of the house.

“We had it out within about a half hour, but were on scene an addition 1-1/2 hours checking for hot spots,” said Paige.

Algoma, Kent City, and Sand Lake Fire Departments all assisted at the scene.

The Kent County Sheriff Department also responded to the scene. According to police, a 39-year-old resident told deputies that they were making marijuana wax prior to the explosion. The man suffered severe burns to his hands and feet, as well as cuts from glass, and was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital.

The fire is still under investigation, and authorities have not yet released any more information.

Marijuana wax is also known as Honeycomb, Wax, Butter, and BHO (butane hash oil). It’s made from oils found in pot plants and has a higher concentration of THC than most marijuana products. Highly flammable butane gas is used to extract the THC from the marijuana leaf, and has resulted in home explosions, injuries, and deaths.

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Newaygo woman charged with OWI, domestic abuse


 

Christa Ann Knox

A Newaygo woman that got into a fight with a passenger in her vehicle has been arrested on several charges.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, deputies were alerted to a possible drunk driver within Reynolds Township, on June 8, about 10:52 p.m. The report indicated a burgundy minivan was being driven in an erratic manner. Before the vehicle could be located by officers, an additional report was received advising the vehicle was stopped near the intersection of Gates and Dagget Roads and there was a woman lying on the road near the vehicle. Upon arrival, the deputy determined that there had not been a vehicle crash at that location, but several other law violations were discovered.

Through the investigation, it was determined that the driver, Christa Ann Knox, 36, of Newaygo, had been travelling westbound on Gates Road when she suddenly stopped her vehicle. Knox then engaged in some type of altercation with a 51-year old Newaygo woman who was a passenger in the vehicle. The 51-year-old woman was found lying in the roadway. She was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids for treatment and it was determined she sustained no serious injuries.

The deputy determined that Knox was intoxicated, was not a valid driver, had her young child in the vehicle, had previous driving related convictions, and had several warrants out for her arrest. Knox was arrested and transported to the Montcalm County Jail where she was lodged.

After review, the prosecutor’s office authorized a warrant charging Knox with Operating While Impaired, third offense; driving on a suspended license, second offense; and domestic violence, second offense. Knox is currently being held at the jail with a $7,000.00 bond for those charges.

The Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services and the Michigan State Police assisted at the scene.

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Double shooting near Sparta


 

A man is dead and another injured after a double shooting early Monday morning in the area of M-37 north of Sparta Avenue NW.

According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, 911 callers reported at about 3:20 a.m. that two people had been shot and were laying on the ground near a stopped vehicle along the road in the 9000 block of southbound M-37 in Sparta Township. A 911 caller reported that the shooting was the result of some type of road rage incident.

When the Kent County Sheriff Department arrived, they found two men with gunshot wounds near the stopped vehicle. Donald Dudley, 20, of Bailey, Michigan, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man, Benjamin Dudley, 18, also from Bailey, Michigan, was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital and is in critical condition.

Police also found a third male subject who stated that he had shot both of the men. Robert Chipman Jr., 43 years of age, from Newaygo, Michigan, has a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL). Police did recover a firearm from the scene.

A fourth person, a 22-year-old female from Wyoming, had fled in a vehicle from the scene but was located a short distance away after she also called 911 to report the shooting. She confirmed that she fled in the vehicle after hearing the gunshots and confirmed she had been with the two subjects that were shot.

Major Case Team Investigators interviewed the alleged male shooter and the female witness at KCSD Headquarters. Both are cooperating with investigators.

The surviving male subject, Benjamin Dudley, will be interviewed when his medical condition allows investigators to speak with him.

This case remains an active investigation and all subjects involved are accounted for and there is no public danger. An autopsy was conducted by Kent County Medical Examiners Officer Monday to determine an official cause of death. Investigators will present their complete findings to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if any criminal charges will be brought against any of the subjects involved.

Assisting at the scene was the Michigan State Police; Sparta Fire/Rescue; the Kent County Medical Examiners Officer; and Rockford Ambulance.

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Motorcyclist injured in accident


 

A motorcyclist suffered serious injuries when he was hit from behind by a car last week.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the accident occurred on Wednesday, October 7, at the intersection of White Creek and 16 Mile, at approximately 5:45 a.m. Police said that a 21-year-old White Cloud man was travelling southbound in his car, on White Creek Avenue, when he struck the rear end of a motorcycle.  The motorcycle was ridden by a 62-year-old Cedar Springs man, who was stopped on White Creek Ave waiting to turn onto 16 Mile Rd.

The motorcyclist was taken to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital, with serious injuries.  The 21-year-old suffered no injuries.

Heavy fog was believed to be a factor, however, alcohol was not.

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Rollover fatal for GR man


James Seibold

James Seibold

The Kent County Sheriff Department responded to a single car rollover accident on Summit, north of 14 Mile Road, about 8:19 p.m., Sunday, June 28.

Two people were trapped inside of the vehicle, a 1997 Pontiac Sunfire. The driver, a 41-year-old female from Algoma Township, suffered an arm injury, and was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital by Rockford Ambulance.

The passenger, James Matthew Seibold, 42, of Grand Rapids, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the accident, and the crash is still under investigation.

Algoma Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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Rockford men injured in crash


 

Three young men were injured in an accident in Cannon Township last week. Photo from WOOD TV8.

Three young men were injured in an accident in Cannon Township last week. Photo from WOOD TV8.

Three young men from Rockford were seriously injured last Thursday when the car they were riding in crashed into a tree.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, deputies responded to a personal injury accident at 9 Mile and Young Avenue in Cannon Township about 6:02 a.m., December 4, involving a passenger car and three occupants. Police said that the driver, Jacob Taylor, 21, of Rockford, lost control of the vehicle and crossed the centerline and struck a tree.

Taylor suffered critical injuries and was transported by Aeromed to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital. The front seat passenger, Bret Bailey, 21, of Rockford, also suffered critical injuries, and was transported by Rockford Ambulance to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital. The back seat passenger, Mitchell Fabro, 22, of Rockford, suffered serious injuries, and was also transported to Spectrum Butterworth by Rockford Ambulance.

 

 

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Man hit by car while rescuing dog


 

A Big Rapids man lost his life last week while trying to rescue a dog in Reynolds Township.

According to the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, the incident occurred on Thursday, October 3, about 9:29 p.m. They said that Morris Zerlaut, 63 was attempting to cross M-46, near Edgar Road, to retrieve a dog that had escaped from a nearby home, when he was struck by a westbound vehicle driven by a 27-year-old male. The victim was eventually transported via Aeromed to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids. Upon arrival at the hospital the victim was pronounced dead.

Police said that seatbelts were worn and alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the accident.

The Howard City Police Department and members from the Reynolds Township Fire Department, the Montcalm County EMS, and Rescue all assisted at the scene.

 

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Driver pulled from burning car


The Oakfield Township Fire Department was called to a car on fire on Friday, August 2, shortly after noon, near Beardslee Rd NE and Tully Avenue. They found a yellow car in the ditch along Beardslee, and the engine compartment was on fire. The compartment was full of smoke. As they began putting out the fire, a male in the vehicle sat up. He had been sitting in the driver’s seat, but was lying across the passenger seat. He was the only person in the car, and firefighters immediately pulled him out.

AeroMed was called to the scene, but told to disregard before they arrived. The man was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital by Rockford Ambulance with third degree burns to his legs and one arm.

The Kent County Sheriff Department said they think the man fell asleep and crashed into the ditch. They said it’s unknown why the car started on fire.

 

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