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Cops: Man arrested on 5th OWI offense, fleeing police

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

A 63-year-old Detroit man was arrested on his fifth drunken driving offense Tuesday evening after he allegedly sped along Interstate 696, hit other vehicles and tried to flee a traffic stop, according to Michigan State Police.

Troopers were dispatched around 6:40 p.m. to westbound Interstate 696 near Groesbeck in Warren, where a state police lieutenant in an unmarked car spotted the suspect driving a 2004 Jeep SUV.

“(The suspect) accelerated through traffic at a high rate of speed, striking other cars and leaving the roadway on several occasions,” officials said. “(The lieutenant) provided the location of the vehicle and followed it at a distance with her flashers on until a marked MSP patrol car could catch up to them.”

The lieutenant, assigned to the gaming section in charge of patrolling the casinos, did not have lights or a siren in her unmarked vehicle, Lt. Mike Shaw said.

“We don’t conduct traffic stops in unmarked cars; it’s against our policy,” he said. “Naturally if it becomes a life-or-death situation we would try to do something about it. But if you get stopped by us, it’s going to be in a marked car.”

While the suspect did strike some cars as it traveled along the freeway, none were serious, life-threatening collisions, Shaw said. The marked car policy is designed to protect citizens from uncertainty that could stem from being pulled over by an unmarked vehicle, he added.

Once a marked patrol car arrived and activated its lights, the suspect pulled off the freeway and stopped at a traffic signal, officials said. As the trooper exited the car, the light turned green and the suspect continued to drive.

“Troopers pursued the driver with their lights and siren activated,” officials said. “After driving several hundred feet, another vehicle stopped in front of (the suspect) and the patrol car was able to pull alongside so that he was not able to continue driving.”

The suspect was ordered to turn off his car but did not comply. The suspect instead put his vehicle in reverse in an attempt to escape.

Troopers deployed pepper spray and moved in to make an arrest. The driver grabbed the steering wheel and resisted, at which point the troopers used a Taser.

The man was taken into custody without further incident, officials said.

A warrant was obtained to analyze the suspect’s blood alcohol level and he was lodged at the Macomb County Jail pending review from the prosecutor’s office.

HFournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

Twitter: @HollyPFournier