BLENDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities say two people were arrested after a police chase ended with a car crashing into a fire station in Blendon Township.
The crash happened at the Blendon Township Fire Station on Tyler Street near the intersection of 56th Avenue.
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said it started around 5:15 a.m. Thursday with a report of a suspicious vehicle at the intersection of 64th Avenue and Baldwin Street. The driver drove away when deputies responded, leading to a short chase.
The driver pulled into the fire station and crashed into a deputy’s cruiser before driving through the closed fire station door, according to the sheriff’s office. The deputy was not hurt in the crash, according to the sheriff’s office.
Then, deputies said they worked alongside members of the Crisis Intervention Team and Critical Response Team, as well as crisis negotiators, to attempt contact with the people in the vehicle: a 22-year-old woman, who was driving, and an 18-year-old man.
The passenger, identified as 18-year-old Benjamin Levi King of Allendale Township, was medically cleared and is being housed in the Ottawa County Jail. The sheriff’s office said he was arraigned Friday on three counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer. His bond was set at $10,000 cash/surety.
The driver is still in the hospital receiving mental health treatment. The sheriff’s office said she has not been arraigned but criminal charges are being sought.
“This was obviously a chaotic and a dangerous situation for our deputies and for the individuals in the vehicle as well, and a traffic stop situation like this is concerning because … when it’s contained to a vehicle, we don’t know what the people have in the vehicle or if they have weapons or access to weapons,” Capt. Jacob Sparks said.
At around 8:20 a.m., as deputies tried to negotiate, the sheriff’s office said the woman who was driving started the vehicle and drove backward into the same deputy’s cruiser.
“Ultimately those negotiations failed and the driver decided to start the car and drove backwards into one of our cruisers,,” Sparks said. “The units then responded and quickly took the subjects into custody using less-than-lethal force.”
He would not say exactly what that method of force was, saying the department doesn’t want to reveal its tactics.
The two suspects were taken to a local hospital.
The sheriff’s office said the deputy was taken to the hospital after the second crash but was not seriously hurt.
Blendon Township Fire Chief Kurt Gernaat said the fire station was not manned when the crash happened and described the incident as unexpected.
“It just kind of catches you off guard,” he said. “It’s not what you expect to wake up to.”
According to Gernaat, the fire station — one of two in Blendon Township — sustained some damage, which was “all relatively minor … compared to what could have happened.”
“Primarily, the damage is to the doors,” Gernaat said.
Though it was not clear whether the door panels would be able to replaced right away, he said he hoped it could remain functional until then.
Gernaat said a fire truck was damaged, too: It was parked right behind the door and was pushed backward in the crash.
“The biggest setback is obviously taking a truck out of service for a period of time to get it fixed,” Gernaat said.
But Gernaat does not anticipate more significant complications.
“It appears that we’ll be able to be completely functional right away,” he said.
Deputies said the cruiser sustained some damage, too.
There is no threat to the public, according to the sheriff’s office.