GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — What started as an investigation into a stolen motorcycle turned into a chase that spanned two counties and included a stolen U-Haul truck and also involved officers from two departments firing shots before the suspect was finally caught, authorities say.
The suspect, whose name wasn’t released, was taken to the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound after the Friday chase, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said. His condition was stable.
Both Walker officers of Ottawa County deputies fired rounds but it wasn’t immediately clear who actually shot the suspect.
Two deputies also sustained minor injuries when their cruisers were hit. They were expected to be released from the hospital Friday night.
“The subject struck numerous sheriff’s deputies, one of them, at least, head-on. There’s multiple crashed cruisers back there right now,” Capt. Jacob Sparks said. “Thankfully, nobody was hurt more seriously.”
The Walker Police Department said its detectives went to a home on Cedar Run Court NW around 1:20 p.m. about a stolen motorcycle there. Chief Keith Mankel said there was then a “small struggle” with the suspect.
“Our detective ended up firing rounds at the suspect,” Mankel told reporters.
The suspect drove off, Mankel said, and officers gave chase through the Standale area. The suspect ultimately ditched his car in the area of Wilson Avenue and Butterworth Street SW, near Johnson Park.
“He fled on foot, swam the river and then ended up stealing the U-Haul down here in the Jenison/Georgetown area,” Mankel said.
The U-Haul was stolen from a couple who was moving out of their apartment.
“I heard lots of sirens going off,” said Laura Kettlehake, a neighbor.
Ottawa County deputies soon spotted the suspect and gave chase through Jenison neighborhoods. Capt. Sparks said the suspect was “driving extremely recklessly.”
“He led deputies on an extensive chase throughout the neighborhoods here. He was driving through yards, items were spilling out the back of the U-Haul. He was ramming deputies, rammed several vehicles and road signs… before he was eventually taken into custody,” Sparks said.
He said a deputy fired at the suspect shortly before the U-Haul was stopped and the man arrested. Sparks would not explain how the U-Haul was stopped.
“The Ottawa County Sheriff nailed the U-Haul and his truck then stopped into the tree,” said Jann Twork, who witnessed the crash.
The chase came to an end on Terrace Lane, near Baldwin Street and 12th Avenue. People who live on Terrace showed News 8 cellphone video of police chasing the U-Haul, a ramp dragging from the open back, through the neighborhood. The U-Haul can be seen hitting a mailbox, breaking it.
“Are you (expletive) serious, man?” the person behind the camera can be heard saying.
Michigan State Police and the Ottawa and Kent county sheriff’s departments were involved in the chase, the video shows.
Neighbors said they saw the man drive up and down Terrace several times before hitting an MSP cruiser. They also said they heard multiple gunshots before the chase came to an end.
A News 8 crew saw the MSP cruiser with front-end damage, tire tracks in a front yard and the broken mailbox.
No officers from Walker were injured, Mankel said.
Michigan State Police will investigate the shooting by the deputy and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department was tapped to investigate the shooting involving the Walker detective.
Jenison Public Schools went into lockdown around 2:35 p.m. while the chase was happening, it posted on Facebook. The lockdown was lifted around 2:45 p.m. The district said it was working on getting students home since buses weren’t being allowed into the Glendora/Coral neighborhood while authorities were still investigating.
Hudsonville Public Schools said in a message to parents that it was advised to keep students in their classrooms, even though it was some distance from the district. Once the suspect was in custody, student were dismissed on time, however, buses took longer to load than normal and were running up to 15 minutes late.
—News 8’s Taylor Morris and Corinne Moore contributed to this report.