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I-696 hit-and-run suspect thought news helicopter was the cops chasing him

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Madison Heights — A  man suspected of fleeing a car crash Friday morning in Oakland County told police he feared a helicopter he saw overhead was the police looking for him. In reality, it was a TV news helicopter.

The crash took place about 5:50 a.m. on eastbound Interstate 696 near Dequindre, Michigan State Police said. Police have said little about how the crash took place, but say a victim suffered a broken leg.

After the crash, witnesses told police, a man fled his vehicle, wearing shorts despite temperatures in the low-40s at the time. 

The man was identified because he left behind his identification, police said. His name and description were quickly spread to area police.

About 2.5 hours after the crash, at 8:30 a.m., Hazel Park police encountered a man wearing shorts on the I-75 service drive near 10 Mile.

Police say the man confirmed that the wallet belonged to him. Police allege he was intoxicated. He expressed concern about the helicopter he saw overhead after the crash.

But it turns out it was a TV news station up in the air, filming the aftermath of the crash for its rush-hour broadcast.

Police arrested the man and say his blood alcohol test showed him at twice the legal limit for a Michigan driver. That legal limit is .08 BAC.