GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — On a cold night in February, Mark Lillywhite was on the receiving end of a Miranda rights reading.
He knows Miranda. He’s been a law enforcement officer for about 30 years.
“I still have to read them to you,” an unidentified Michigan State Police trooper can be heard telling Lillywhite, the St. Joseph County sheriff, on dashboard camera video.
“I get it. I get it,” Lillywhite said after being placed in a cruiser.
Minutes earlier, around 2:20 a.m. Feb. 26, Lillywhite crashed his county-owned SUV into the back of another vehicle on US-131 south of Schoolcraft, causing the other vehicle to roll. No one was injured. Lillywhite, who troopers say was slurring his words and smelled of alcohol, had a blood alcohol content level of .25, more than three times the legal limit. He ultimately pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to probation.
News 8 obtained the MSP dashcam video Wednesday through a Freedom of Information Act request. It shows what Lillywhite had to say just after his arrest.
“Are you willing to give up these rights and answer my questions?” the trooper asked Lillywhite after his Miranda rights were read.
“No,” Lillywhite replied.
But that didn’t end the discussion. As the trooper processed Lillywhite, the two talked about the vehicle he was driving, which was going nearly 100 mph before the crash.
“Is it the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department that own the vehicle?” the trooper asked.
“Yeah,” Lillywhite answered.
Three guns were found inside the SUV.
At one point, the video shows, Lillywhite began questioning the trooper on witness statements.
“I’m not sure they got the right person (inaudible) driver’s side but whatever. I’ll take it,” Lillywhite said.
The trooper told Lillywhite there were several witnesses to what happened following the crash, including a local firefighter called to the scene.
“Where was he at?” Lillywhite asked.
“When he came up on the scene, he said he saw you moving from the driver seat to the passenger seat,” the trooper said.
“No, I’m saying did he see anything before?” Lillywhite asked.
“No, no. He didn’t see the crash or anything,” the trooper said.
Police reports previously obtained by News 8 show Lillywhite said he wasn’t driving the SUV, even though it was his duty vehicle and no one else was in it at the time of the crash. The video shows he seemed to make one last attempt at convincing the trooper he wasn’t behind the wheel before he was taken to the hospital for a blood draw and to be medically cleared to be taken to the Kalamazoo County Jail.
“What if you weren’t the driver?” Lillywhite asked.
“So at this point, we’re saying you were the driver,” the trooper answered.
Lillywhite told the judge during his plea and sentencing hearing in April that he was in a dark place before to the crash and that he has since taken aggressive steps to get sober.