1 dead in Sterling Heights crash involving vehicle suspected in break-in, car theft

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Sterling Heights — One person is dead after a sports utility vehicle suspected in a break-in and car theft at a Romeo dealership crashed Thursday night in Sterling Heights, the Macomb County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies were called at about 11 p.m. Thursday to the Jim Riehl’s Friendly Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram at 64600 Van Dyke in Romeo for a report of vehicles driving recklessly, according to authorities.

As a deputy arrived, a red 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee sped out of the business' lot. The SUV sped north on Van Dyke, then east on 30 Mile and eventually south on the M-53 bypass, officials said. The deputy pursued, but stopped his chase at M-53 and 26 Mile.

Meanwhile, other deputies who arrived at the dealership saw three other vehicles — two green 2018 Dodge Challengers and a white 2021 Dodge Charger — exit the lot and and flee in different directions.

Shortly after, police informed deputies the red Jeep had crashed at the intersection of 15 Mile and Van Dyke in Sterling Heights. Deputies were also told the crash caused a fatality.

As a deputy headed to the scene of the crash and was traveling south on Mound Road, he saw the white Dodge Charger from earlier. He followed the vehicle and alerted Warren police. Officers along with the deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the vehicle fled. The Charger got onto Interstate 696 and police terminated their pursuit when it reached Interstate 94. 

Sheriff's deputies and Shelby Township police located a green Dodge Challenger on southbound M-53 and south 23 Mile Road. The vehicle was unoccupied and a police canine unit was unable to track any suspects, officials said.

A red 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, two green 2018 Dodge Challengers and a white 2021 Dodge Charger were stolen from Jim Riehl’s Friendly Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram at 64600 Van Dyke in Romeo.

Investigators later spoke with the car dealership's employees and obtained video from the business' security cameras. The footage showed four suspects breaking into the dealership and getting into the four vehicles, they said. It shows three vehicles leave, followed by a fourth about five minutes later.

Officials said the vehicles then drove to the parking lot of a nearby Kroger grocery store and did "doughnuts" on the pavement. As a deputy arrives, the three vehicles flee.

Police continue to investigate and ask anyone with information about the break-in, theft or crash to call the Macomb County Sheriff's Office at (586) 307-9358.


Twitter: @CharlesERamirez