Ludington man, 65, charged in shot fired incident on Mackinac Bridge

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

A Ludington man is accused of firing a gun in the air during an argument with another motorist on the Mackinac Bridge this past weekend.

William Richard Pirkola, 65, was charged Monday in 92nd District Court in Mackinac County with a count of reckless discharge of a firearm, Michigan State Police said. A judge set a personal recognizance bond and scheduled his next court appearance for July 13.


The crime is a misdemeanor and, if convicted, he faces a penalty of days in jail and/or a fine.

Officials said troopers from the St. Ignace Post were called early Saturday afternoon to the Mackinac Bridge for a report of a minor crash and gunshot.

According to a preliminary investigation, the incident began when two vehicles were traveling east on U.S. 2 toward the bridge.

Pirkola told the troopers another driver would not let him merge. He said it happened again when their two vehicles approached the bridge's toll booth on Interstate 75. 

After going through the toll booth, the other vehicle merged in front of him due to a lane  closure. The vehicle was driven by a 63-year-old Williamsburg man, officials said. Pirkola struck the other vehicle. Its driver exited his vehicle to confront Pirkola, who allegedly pointed a handgun in the air and fired one shot.

Troopers seized a .40 caliber handgun and a 9mm handgun from Pirkola's vehicle. They also recovered a spent .40 caliber cartridge recovered from the driver’s side seat.

They arrested Pirkola and took him to the Mackinac County Jail to await his arraignment.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez