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Man faces 23 counts in police chase

Man faces 23 counts in police chase

A 41-year-old man who was originally charged with driving on a suspended license is now facing a 23-count warrant, after leading several law enforcement agencies on a pursuit through Montcalm County last week.

Mark Dwayne McCuaig

Mark Dwayne McCuaig

During a court appearance last Wednesday for driving on a suspended license, Mark Dwayne McCuaig, 41, who uses addresses in both Rockford and Greenville, was ordered into custody for contempt of court. According to Montcalm County Undersheriff Mark Bellinger, as McCuaig was being taken from Montcalm 64B District Court to the lock up room, he struggled with the officer and fled through the door into the courtroom. Once in the courtroom, an Assistant Montcalm County prosecutor and a state corrections officer, who was serving as a juror, stopped him. When they let the man up to be taken into custody, he took off on foot.

“At this time, the court officer deployed his Taser with no effect,” said Bellinger. The man then fled to the front door of the court complex where a second court officer confronted him. Mace was deployed on the suspect and he ran through the front doors into the parking lot.

Police said the man got into a van owned by a friend and locked the doors as officers approached. He then started the van, and as he backed out of the parking spot, officers broke out the driver’s window and deployed another Taser. The suspect then went forward and out of the parking lot on to south M-66.

The Stanton Police Chief spotted the vehicle and took up the pursuit. The vehicle was chased on various back roads, with speeds approaching 80 miles per hour, heading in a southwest direction towards Greenville. A Michigan State Police Trooper slowed the suspect by putting down stop sticks on Peck Road, between M-91 and Vining Roads. However, McCuaig was only a short distance from his home, and drove up to the house and barricaded himself inside the home.

Bellinger said authorities tried to contact the suspect to no avail. “Due to the concern that the suspect would cause injury to himself, an entry team of four officers and a K-9 team was formed and entered the home,” he explained.

McCuaig then fled the home and into a pole barn garage where he had earlier started a 1971 Dodge motor home. As officers attempted to stop the man through the driver’s side window, he backed the motor home up, put the vehicle into forward gear, and drove out of the closed garage door and into the front of a Montcalm County patrol vehicle.

The suspect then drove west on Peck Road and struck a Greenville Department of Public Safety patrol car at the intersection of Peck and M-91. He then turned south on M-91 and struck another Greenville Public Safety vehicle several times in the rear. McCuaig then turned the motor home around and headed north on M-91, until a Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office Ford Expedition patrol vehicle forced the motor home off the west side of the road into a snowy field, where it stopped. The suspect fled on foot, and another Taser was deployed, which brought McCuaig to the ground, where he was apprehended and taken to the Montcalm County Jail.

An officer from the Greenville Department of Public Safety was transported to Spectrum Hospital in Greenville for injuries he sustained when the suspect struck the rear of his vehicle.

During the chase two Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicles were damaged along with three Greenville Department of Public Safety patrol vehicles.

Also assisting deputies in the chase were officers from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office is charging McCuaig with seven counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer; five counts of fleeing a police officer; five counts of malicious destruction to a police vehicle; three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon; one count of unauthorized driving away of a motor vehicle; one count of malicious destruction of a building; and one count of assaulting or obstructing a police officer.

McCuaig is lodged in the Montcalm County jail in lieu of posting a $500,000 bond. His exam on the charges is March 15.

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