SCHOOLCRAFT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The St. Joseph County sheriff was driving a department-owned vehicle when he caused an apparent drunken driving crash early Sunday, state records show.
Witnesses said Mark Lillywhite was visibly impaired after the crash, body camera video from Kalamazoo County deputies who responded to the scene shows.
“They said the other guy … he couldn’t even stand up and talk. So obviously, it appears he was intoxicated,” a witness told investigators.
Lillywhite, 47, of Three Rivers, was arrested after rear-ending another car on US-131 south of Schoolcraft around 2:20 a.m. Sunday. Both vehicles were pushed off the road in the crash. No one was seriously hurt.
“Apparently they (the people in the car that was rear-ended) said he’s drunker than anything. He snuck up from them behind. They never knew he was there,” one deputy told another as he arrived at the scene. “He come up from behind and just hit them.”
The people in the car that was rear-ended said Lillywhite’s headlights weren’t on.
“I don’t remember seeing lights behind us. No headlights or anything. Just boom,” one of the people told deputies.
Michigan Secretary of State’s Office records show the SUV Lillywhite was driving is registered to the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department.
Michigan State Police were called in to investigate. Troopers said it looked like Lillywhite had been drinking. They performed field sobriety tests and he was arrested on charges of operating while intoxicated and possession of a firearm while intoxicated. He was booked into the jail and released that afternoon.
MSP is still investigating. Once it is done, the county prosecutor will make a decision on charges. Arraignment has not been scheduled.
News 8 requested video from MSP but had not received it as of Tuesday afternoon.