MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A man now faces drunk driving charges after he told residents he drove his vehicle into the Muskegon River with two people inside, prompting an hours-long search that spanned most of Sunday morning.
The suspect, later identified by police as Stephen Karl Anderson, went to a home on North Creston Road around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Muskegon Township Police Chief Ken Sanford told 24 Hour News 8.
"'Help me! Help me! Call 911,'" recalled neighbor Dale Mackey, to whose door Anderson came. "That's what he was yelling."
Anderson, a Muskegon native visiting from Kentucky, told residents that he crashed his SUV into the nearby Muskegon River and that two women were drowning.
Authorities said Anderson was wet as he spoke with residents.
When officers arrived, they found no evidence a vehicle drove into the river. Sanford said other cars that have driven into the river at this location had left clear indications.
They called in the Muskegon County Sheriff's Department Dive Team to search for the two people allegedly missing, anyway.
Crews searched for the passengers and car overnight, but found nothing. The search continued Sunday morning after the sun rose, but nothing was found in the river during the three-hour search.
"They came out first thing this morning and swept this whole area," said Sanford. "Our dive team is confident [the SUV]'s not in this river."
Anderson later changed his story, according to a press release, and said that he was alone in the vehicle.
"His initial statements concern me. Not a common thing for people to say they've done something more serious," said Sanford. "If he's making up the kind of story, what could be the true story that happened with the car."
Sanford said Anderson was drunk when he talked to the residents. Sanford said his blood alcohol content level ( BAC) was .18 -- more than twice the legal limit of .08 -- when tested.
Anderson, 49, is now in police custody facing charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
He told police he had visited several bars between Holton and Muskegon on Saturday night.
Authorities are now looking for Anderson's vehicle -- a silver 2001 Dodge Durango with Kentucky license plate number 928-GRA.
Anyone with information about Anderson or the Durango is asked to contact Muskegon Township Police at 231.777.1666 or Silent Observer at 231.722.7463.
Celebrating one of his personal heroes, President Barack Obama praised Nelson Mandela as the last great liberator of the 20th century, urging the world to carry on his legacy by fighting inequality, poverty and discrimination.
A 25-year-old man is in serious condition at a hospital after being struck by a vehicle as he walked along a street in Kentwood.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela was honored Tuesday with a public memorial service expected to be viewed by people around the world.