State police dog finds suspected drunk driver who wandered off after crash

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

A Michigan State Police dog tracked a man who wandered off after allegedly driving drunk and left his vehicle in an Isabella Township ditch, officials said Monday.

A state police canine unit was dispatched at about 10:45 p.m. Saturday to a vehicle that had no driver and was found in a ditch at East Jordan and Whiteville roads in the township. Isabella Township is located north of Mount Pleasant, about 160 miles northeast of Detroit.

The trooper found open alcohol containers, a cellphone and shoes inside the vehicle.

Officials said the trooper and his canine searched the area for the driver for about an an hour and twenty minutes in freezing temperatures and freezing rain. The dog tracked the driver to a large thicket of brush a quarter of a mile from the ditch. 

The trooper approached the driver, a 36-year-old Shepherd man, who was inside the thicket. He was wearing only a T-shirt and jeans, according to authorities. The trooper summoned medics, who checked the man and found he had a body temperature of 94 degrees. Hypothermia happens as body temperatures fall below 95 degrees. 

They said the man was unaware he had been in the thicket for more than an hour and a half.

Officials said the man was treated and then taken to the Isabella County Jail. His arraignment is pending, but he may faces charges for operating while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident and having open intoxicants in a vehicle, they said.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez