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Tag Archive | "Michigan State Police"

National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week Nov. 9-15


Crash on EB I-69 by exit 94.

Each year across the country, hundreds of emergency responders are struck and injured or killed while responding to traffic incidents. This year National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week is Nov. 9-15 and the theme is “Slow Down. Move Over. Be Safe.” It focuses on the fact that everyone has a role in traffic incident response. Simply slowing down, moving over, and driving safe around incidents and first responders can save lives.

Unfortunately, first responders are still being struck and killed or injured at an alarming rate. Safety, emergency, local, and state groups and organizations around Michigan will use the week to educate drivers and local public safety professionals about the dangers of traffic incident response in an effort to prevent injuries and deaths.

Michigan residents can join the effort by ensuring their vehicle is in good working condition, packing a roadside emergency kit, and remaining in their vehicle until help arrives. When driving near an incident scene, Michigan’s Move Over Law requires motorists to slow down to at least 10 mph below the posted speed limit and move over if possible. This law applies to stationary emergency vehicles with flashing lights activated, including roadside tow trucks and courtesy vehicles operated by MDOT. It also applies to garbage trucks, road maintenance, and utility service vehicles that have amber lights flashing. State Police.

As of November 10, 18 people died on Michigan roadways since last week, making a total of 873 this year. In addition, there were 77 more people seriously injured for a statewide total of 4,553 to date. Compared to last year at this time, there are 37 more fatalities, and 219 fewer serious injuries. Numbers are provided by the Michigan State Police.

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MDOT prepares to meet the challenge of winter during a pandemic


With winter already on its way to parts of the state, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is doing what it does every year: preparing. But this winter may pose new challenges for keeping our roads clear.

“Over the years, maintenance workers at the state and local levels have handled everything winter could throw at them but, with the continuing threat of COVID-19, this is going to be an unprecedented winter,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “We’re working with local agencies and county road commissions to plan for contingencies, but we want drivers to know the pandemic could affect our ability to maintain winter levels of service.”

The goal of MDOT and its partner agencies remains clearing highways to bare pavement as quickly as possible after a winter storm. If MDOT or local contract agencies are temporarily affected by COVID-19 infections or associated quarantines, it may take longer to reach this goal.

“During snowstorms, MDOT and our contract agencies will have all available staff out working to clear roads as quickly as possible,” Ajegba said. “We’ll be asking the public for their patience and understanding if we need to manage temporary staff shortages. We’ll do the best we can with the resources available.”

As we move into winter, drivers need to remember they also share responsibility for safety when they venture out. Motorists must follow Michigan’s Basic Speed Law, which requires them to drive at a “careful and prudent” speed in all driving conditions that also allows them to be able to stop within the clear distance ahead. It may mean driving slower than the posted speed limit.    

MDOT and Michigan State Police (MSP) collaborated to produce a video (which you can find on youtube at (https://youtu.be/hCG85h7sm-c) with information on how roads are maintained each winter and the actions motorists should take now to be prepared for inclement driving conditions. The video also covers:

  • How to prepare your vehicle for winter driving, such as making sure tires are in good condition and that all snow and ice have been cleared from your vehicle before heading onto the road;
  • Why drivers should give plow operators extra space, and consider staying behind them in winter storms;
  • How drivers can see what plow truck operators see through the Mi Drive travel information website, at (https://mdotjboss.state.mi.us/MiDrive/map) and see their position on state routes in real time; 
  • The use of green lights on plow trucks; 
  • Michigan’s mover over law at (www.michigan.gov/documents/MDOT_Vehicle_Caution_Law_116834_7.pdf) which requires motorists to move over for stationary emergency vehicles with their lights activated or slow down and pass with caution if it is not possible to safely change lanes, and 
  • Other reminders for winter driving, such as avoiding distractions, using headlights during winter weather, and leaving extra space between vehicles.

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Howard City man arrested for child sexually abusive activity


Kevin Scott
Narloch

Investigation finds exploitation of minor children

The Michigan State Police (MSP) Computer Crimes Unit (CCU), Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, announced the arrest of Kevin Scott Narloch, 42 of Howard City, following an undercover investigation into his online activity.

The MSP CCU/ICAC Task Force Grand Rapids Office, along with the assistance of the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, arrested Narloch following a search warrant at his residence. Additional evidence was seized, and he was lodged at the Montcalm County Jail. The Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office charged Narloch and he was arraigned on aggravated distribution of child sexually abusive material, aggravated possession of child sexually abusive material, aggravated manufacturing/copying of child sexually abusive material, and three counts of using a computer to commit a crime.  

The MSP CCU encourages parents to speak to their children about the safe use of the Internet. There are many resources available to parents to assist in keeping children safe online. The NCMEC provides a comprehensive list of resources on their website at http://www.missingkids.org. The MSP ICAC Task Force also provides resources at https://www.michiganicac.com/.

If you have information regarding possible child sexual exploitation, report it to the CyberTipline at http://www.missingkids.org/cybertipline.

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Elementary school educator gets 60 years for child exploitation


James Verne Russell

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN—James Verne Russell, 50, a former Michigan teacher and principal, was sentenced to serve 720 months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for sexual exploitation of two minors. U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff also imposed lifetime-supervised release should it be necessary. Russell was also sentenced on October 8, 2020 by Muskegon County Circuit Court Judge Annette R. Smedley to 20 to 95 years in the related sexual assault case.

In sentencing Russell to serve 60 years in prison, Judge Neff stated the offense “is about as serious as it gets” because of the extended length of time and “circumstances in which you took advantage of children.” Judge Neff commented that in her thirty-two years as a judge “you think you’ve seen it all” and then “something like this happens.” “You come face-to-face with a human being whose behavior you just can’t understand.” “How you can take a little boy from an awful situation” and “take what little he has away from him.” “There are very few cases that will stick out to me after all these years, but yours will. I promise you.”

Russell was in education for 22 years. He was an elementary school teacher for 16 years and an elementary school principal for six years in the Ravenna and North Muskegon School Districts. In June 2018, a teacher filed a complaint about Russell’s unusual interest in two students.

Russell was suspended by the school district and later resigned. He then moved to Las Vegas and joined the Clark County School District as a fourth grade teacher. Russell came to the attention of law enforcement, in March 2019, when the FBI Las Vegas Child Exploitation Task Force received a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding a recent upload of dozens of images, some depicting child pornography. When confronted by investigators from the FBI Las Vegas and Henderson Police Department, Russell confessed to possessing the pictures. Norton Shores Police and FBI Grand Rapids located and interviewed the victim in Michigan. The victim, identified as Victim 1 in the charges, confirmed that he was the child depicted and that Russell had sexually molested him for years. A search of Russell’s cell phone and computers disclosed numerous other images of child pornography, many of which Russell had produced himself. Further investigation disclosed another boy, identified as Victim 2, who was victimized in 2017, and a third individual who had been sexually abused by Russell beginning in 1996.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office brought federal charges against Russell for the production, transportation, and possession of child pornography. The Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office charged Russell for the sexual assaults of Victim 1. As part of a joint resolution, Russell pleaded guilty to a sexual assault charge in Muskegon County, and pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child pornography in federal court.

Russell started his career in education in 1996. That same year, he began grooming and sexually assaulting his first victim. Russell volunteered to work with children in many capacities, including as a long-term guardian, babysitter, elementary and middle school basketball coach, lifeguard, camp counselor, and youth ministries assistant at various churches. In its sentencing memorandum, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, “Russell’s conduct is not one of opportunity or an isolated aberration. His was a deliberate and dedicated career of manipulation and sexual abuse.”

In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge stated, “Russell’s conduct is an abomination. He worked and volunteered his way into the lives of our children, not as a service to our community, but as a means to identify, target, and sexually exploit vulnerable children.

Those who are in a position of trust and sexually abuse children will be held accountable. There is no parole in the federal system. Russell will spend the rest of his life in prison and will never have the chance to molest another child.”

“The FBI is committed to working alongside our law enforcement partners to protect children from being exploited by people like Mr. Russell,” said David G. Nanz, Acting Special Agent in charge of the FBI in Michigan. “He used positions of trust to gain access to vulnerable children, abuse them and record the abuse for his own perverse pleasure. His actions were reprehensible and represent the worst betrayal of innocence and trust imaginable.”

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutor’s offices, the Internet Crimes Against Children task force (ICAC), federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. The partners in Project Safe Childhood work to educate local communities about the dangers of online child exploitation, and to teach children how to protect themselves. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit the following web site: www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Individuals with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement officials.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Mekaru and Austin Hakes, in cooperation with the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office, and investigated by Henderson (Nevada) Police Department, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Norton Shores Police Department, FBI in Las Vegas, and WEBCHEX – “West Michigan Based Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force,” a partnership of FBI, Michigan State Police, and local agencies dedicated to investigating offenses against children.

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Crash takes life of Howard City woman


File photo.

A 24-year-old Howard City woman died Tuesday morning when the vehicle she was riding in ran into the back of a road commission tractor.

According to the Michigan State Police Rockford Post, the crash occurred at about 8:55 a.m. Tuesday morning August 25, on Marvin Road, west of Maple Island Rd, in Holton Township, Muskegon County.

Their preliminary investigation revealed that a SUV traveling west bound ran into the back of a Muskegon County Road Commission tractor/mower that was mowing the shoulder of the roadway. The 24-year-old female passenger of the SUV, from Howard City, was pronounced deceased on scene. The 26-year-old male driver, from Montague, was transported to the hospital with serious, life-threatening injuries.  The tractor operator was taken to the hospital by vehicle for non-life-threatening injuries. 

The crash remains under investigation and no names have been released yet pending notification of family members.

Troopers were assisted on scene by Holton Fire and Dalton Township Fire departments.

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Man takes own life before sentencing


Daniel Myslenski

By Judy Reed

A Coral man took his own life Thursday morning, July 30, the same morning he was due in court to be sentenced on charges related to the death of a man in a traffic crash in 2017.

Daniel Mark Myslenski, 31, was found dead following gunshots heard from inside a residence in Coral just before 8 a.m. on July 30. Two troopers from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post and a Montcalm Co. Sheriff’s deputy were called to a residence on Coral Rd. near Main St. at approximately 7:45 a.m. at the request of a concerned family member. The family member requested police assist with checking the well-being of Myslenski after he made concerning statements prior to a scheduled court appearance for later in the morning.

Myslenski, a 2007 graduate of Cedar Springs High School, was charged in the traffic crash that killed Guy Petherbridge, 61, also of Coral on July 4, 2017. The crash occurred on Kendaville Rd, west of Bailey Rd, in Maple Valley Township. Police investigation showed that Guy Petherbridge had stopped his vehicle on the road after striking a deer. The car he was driving was then struck by an eastbound Ford truck traveling at a high rate of speed, which was driven by Myslenski. The impact caused the car to split in half and catch fire. Petherbridge suffered fatal injuries from the crash. Myslenski suffered minor injuries. 

The Montcalm County Prosecutor’s office authorized a warrant for Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death and Reckless Driving Causing Death in January 2018. Myslenski eventually pleaded to attempted reckless driving causing death. His sentencing was delayed during the COVID-19 shutdown and scheduled for June 19. However, that was also delayed due to a suicide attempt by Myslenski and the new date of July 30 was scheduled.

When police arrived on scene, the family member allowed officers to enter a door in the garage area of the residence, and as officers began to enter the residence, two gunshots were heard from inside. The officers and family member retreated from the residence and to safety while summoning additional assistance as the man was believed to be armed. Officers did not return fire and were not injured. Additional MSP, Montcalm Co. Sheriff’s Dept., and EMS personnel arrived on scene to assist and secure the area, including MSP Emergency Support Team, Canine, and Bomb Squad personnel with specialized equipment.

Troopers were unable to establish communication with Myslenski following the two initial gunshots from inside the residence. Just after 11 a.m., a specialized MSP robot was deployed to enter the residence, at which time Myslenski was found deceased with self-inflicted gunshot wounds. There were no other injuries and no one else was inside the residence. After examining the scene following the incident, investigators do not believe Myslenski had fired at officers. The incident remains under investigation.

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Woman dies in three-vehicle crash


Cassie Burbank, 23, was killed Sunday, July 26th in a three-vehicle crash. Facebook photo.

Troopers from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post are investigating a three-vehicle traffic crash resulting in fatal injuries to a 23-year-old Sheridan woman. 

The crash occurred on Sunday, July 26, 2020 at approximately 12:06 p.m. on M-66 near Ruby Rd. in Montcalm County’s Sidney Township. A trooper traveling through the area drove up on the crash scene moments after it happened and immediately began to administer aid to the passengers of a minivan containing seven passengers, including five children.  

Preliminary investigation revealed that a 2003 Pontiac minivan traveling northbound on M-66 was stopped and waiting to turn left before it was struck from behind by a 2009 Chevrolet Impala, also traveling northbound on M-66. The Pontiac minivan was pushed into the southbound lane of M-66 following the initial collision, then was struck by a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck traveling south on M-66.

The female passenger in the Pontiac minivan, Cassondra Jean Cheyenne Burbank, 23, of Sheridan, suffered fatal injuries as a result of the crash. Five children in the Pontiac minivan also suffered various injuries and were transported by both ambulance and Aero Med medical helicopter to Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. The driver of the Pontiac minivan, a 23-year-old Sheridan man, suffered minor injuries and was treated on scene. 

The driver of the Silverado pickup, a 38-year-old Stanton man, along with his passengers, a 37-year-old Stanton man, and a 9-year-old male from Stanton, were treated for their injuries on scene. The female driver and only occupant of the Chevrolet Impala, a 20-year-old Perrinton woman, was not injured in the crash. The incident remains under investigation.

Troopers were assisted on scene by the Sheridan Community Fire Department, Montcalm County EMS, Aero Med, Bookwalter’s Towing and Recovery, MSP Aviation Unit, Montcalm County Victim’s Services and Montcalm County Central Dispatch.

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State police investigating fatal accident


Troopers from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post are investigating an accident resulting in fatal injuries to a 26-year-old male from Hubbardston, MI. The incident occurred at the Crystal Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 26, 2020 at approximately 4:51 a.m. in Montcalm County’s Crystal Township.  

Preliminary investigation revealed three occupants were riding in the open back of a SUV passenger vehicle in a public area of the Crystal Motor Speedway before being ejected from the vehicle as it accelerated. A 26-year-old Hubbardston man, identified as Alex Richards, died as a result of injuries sustained after falling from the vehicle. A 26-year-old Vestaburg man also suffered serious injuries and had to be transported to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing by Aero Med medical helicopter. The third occupant ejected, a 25-year-old Sheridan woman, was not injured. 

The driver of the vehicle, a 30-year-old Ionia man, was arrested following the incident for Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death and lodged at the Montcalm County Jail pending arraignment. A 30-year-old Ionia woman riding in the front passenger seat of the vehicle was not injured.  The incident remains under investigation.

Troopers were assisted on scene by the Crystal Twp. Fire Department, Montcalm County EMS, Aero Med and Montcalm County Central Dispatch.

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Funeral info for Tpr. Caleb Starr


Tpr. Caleb Starr

From the Michigan State Police

The Michigan State Police is grateful for the outpouring of support and many messages of condolences that we have received from the public safety community and general public. While the MSP desires nothing more than to lay Trooper Starr to rest with the traditional formality of a full public law enforcement funeral that honors both him and his family, in the interest of health and safety to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the visitation, memorial service and graveside service will be private events with limited attendance. 

For this reason, we are asking those who wish to pay their respects to the Starr family to do so virtually by leaving a message at https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/mason-mi/caleb-starr-9294020.

On Saturday, August 8, law enforcement agencies with marked patrol vehicles are invited to participate in a patrol vehicle tribute lining the funeral processional route. Officers participating in the patrol vehicle tribute shall report to the Ingham County Fairgrounds, 700 East Ash Street in Mason by 9 a.m. Officers are asked to remain in their vehicles, and a briefing via the public-address system will be held at 9:30 a.m., with staging for the tribute to begin at 10 a.m.  

Law enforcement agencies are also welcome to send a video message, in lieu of attendance, for compilation into a tribute video for Trooper Starr’s family. Interested law enforcement agencies should email MSP Public Affairs at MSPPublicAffairs@michigan.gov for further instructions.

Make a Donation to the Starr Family
Tax deductible donations to support the Starr family are being accepted by the Michigan State Troopers Assistance Fund (MSTAF), managed by the Michigan State Police Troopers Association. Donations can be mailed to MSPTA or made online at http://www.mspta.net/mstaf/donations/. Please indicate the donation is in support of the Starr family.

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Man drowns in boating accident at Crystal Lake


A Perrinton man drowned last week Thursday afternoon trying to save a woman who fell out of their boat.

According to the Michigan State Police Post in Lakeview, the incident happened at Crystal Lake, in Montcalm County’s Crystal Township, about 2:34 p.m. Thursday, June 4.

Police said that a 54-year-old woman had fallen from a fishing boat and into the water on Crystal Lake. The 59-year-old man operating the boat jumped into the water after the woman had fallen in. The woman, who was not injured, was pulled from the water and into a passing boat by citizens who arrived to help.

The man, Kelly Schaffer, 59, of Perrinton, in Gratiot County, was also pulled from the water and into the passing boat. Citizens began CPR on him before EMS arrival, but he was later pronounced deceased at the scene.

Life jackets were not worn by the fishing boat occupants.  The incident remains under investigation.

In addition to the citizens on scene, troopers were assisted by Crystal Twp. Fire Department, Montcalm County EMS, Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office and Montcalm County Central Dispatch.

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