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Sheriff Reports  -  Antwerp Township, MI


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Jan 2011

Dec 2010

Incident#:  9705-10
Incident Type:  Attempted larceny of Tires/Wheels/Scrap, possession of burglary tools
Date and Time: December 30, 2010 at approximately  0400 a.m.
Location: Formula K Manufacturing  located  at 58000 Deerhammer Pkwy Antwerp Twp. Van Buren County.
Vehicle seized used by the suspect:  1999  GMC Pickup
Suspect:  A 24 year old Paw Paw township man was arrested on an unrelated charge.  This subject is a person of interest in relation to this on-going investigation.

Information:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports on 12-30-2010, at approximately 4:00am, deputies responded to a 911 call  from employees of the Formula K warehouse located at 58000 Deerhammer Industrial Drive in Paw Paw reporting a larceny in progress at this location. Sheriff deputies assisted by  Paw Paw and Lawton Police departments responded to the scene.   
     On arrival, responding officers discovered a GMC pickup behind the building and realized the suspect had run off apparently noting officers approaching him.  Deputies tracked the suspect until lost at Interstate I-94. 
     Upon returning to the incident scene it was discovered that  the suspect had all ready loaded some property of Formula K into the cargo area of his pickup truck. Deputies continued to investigate the scene and found several tools, including gloves, hacksaws, bolt cutters and acetylene torch set. The GMC pickup was impounded, as was the registered owner contacted later in the day in regards to the incident. 
     During this follow-up investigation a person of interest was developed and arrested on an unrelated charge.  Property belonging to the Formula K was returned to the business. Due to a recent break-in at this place of business, employees of this company decided to stand watch during the overnight hours for anyone else attempting to steal items from this site. Employees did not confront the suspect in any manner, but immediately called 911 providing valuable information of the crime taking place to  dispatchers who in turn relayed information to responding police officers.   
     The investigative report is being forwarded to the county prosecutor’s office for review. 

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Van Buren county sheriff’s office at 269-657-3101,  SILENT OBSERVER....343-2100 or 866-774-2345 Submit Silent Observer tips here, CRIME STOPPERS......800-342-7867 Submit CrimeStoppers tips here or the Michigan State Police Paw Paw post who is also working a similar incident at this business at 269-675-5551.

Investigating Officers:  Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office uniform response and follow-up division
Assisting agencies:  Michigan State Police Paw Paw post, Lawton and Paw Paw Police departments.
Contact persons:  On duty Sergeant, Dt/Lt William Lux, email or Lt Robert Kirk at 269-657-3101, email

Incident No:  9410-10
Incident Type:  Possession of Methamphetamine, Violation of Restricted License, No Insurance, Disobey Stop Sign.
CR657 near Birmingham Court, Antwerp Twp., Van Buren County, State of Michigan, 49071.
Date & Time: 
December 15, 2010 at 2009 hrs.
38 year old white male. Name is being withheld pending arraignment.
Controlled Substance: 
1 gram of Methamphetamine was found on the suspect.
Suspect was arrested for Possession of Methamphetamine, Violation of Restricted License, & No Insurance.
Citation Issued: 
Suspect was issued a citation for Violation of a Restricted License, No Insurance, & Disobey a Stop Sign.

Vehicle was a silver 1997 Jeep Cherokee. Vehicle was impounded.

Information:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that on 12/15/2010 at 2009 hrs. deputy made a traffic stop on a silver Jeep Cherokee for disobeying a stop sign.
     Upon making contact with the driver, the deputy noted that he was acting nervous and could not sit still. Deputy asked the driver for his license, registration, & proof of insurance. At which point, it was discovered that the driver had no valid insurance and that he was also in violation of his restricted license. The driver was arrested for the above offenses.
      The driver was then transported to the Van Buren County Jail, where he continued to act nervous and move erratically. While being patted down in the jail, it was discover that the driver had hid a small plastic baggy of methamphetamine on his person. Driver admitted to deputies that the substance was methamphetamine and that he had been using methamphetamine recently. He was lodged for possession of methamphetamine, violation of his restricted license, & no insurance. He was also issued a citation for disobeying the stop sign.

Investigating Officer: 
Deputy Matthew Konkle, Van Buren County Sheriff's Office
On Duty Sergeant or Lt. Robert Kirk, (269) 657-3101 email

Nov  2010

Oct 2010

Sep 2010

Aug 2010

Incident #:  5715-10
Incident Type:  Malicious Destruction of Property (MDOP)
Date & Time of Incident: 
August 2nd, 2010 at 0130 hrs.
Location of Incident:  Numerous residences on 64th Ave. between CR 657 and 30th St, Antwerp Township
Suspect Information:  (2) 15 year old males from Lawton, 13 year old male from Lawton, 12 year old male from Battle Creek.

Narrative:   Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Deputies were dispatched to the 28000 block of 64th Avenue to investigate MDOP to mailboxes. 
     Contact was made with the victims who advised that the suspects ran to a house nearby.  Deputies made contact with 4 juveniles who confessed to destroying approximately 7 mailboxes with a baseball bat.  Three of the juveniles also confessed to destroying mailboxes in the same area over the last few weeks. 
     The juveniles were turned over to their parents and the report will be forwarded to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office for review.

Investigating Officers:  Deputy Casey Davis, Deputy Travis Bernatche.
Contact:  Please contact the on-duty Sergeant or Lt. Bob Kirk email.

Jul 2010

Incident #:  5565-10.
Incident Type:  Possession of marijuana with intent to deliver & operating under the influence of a controlled substance.
Date and Time: 
July 28, 2010 at 1310 hrs.
CR653 & 56th Ave., Antwerp Twp., Van Buren Co., MI 49079.
Controlled Substances: 
37.6 grams of marijuana & 1 pipe with marijuana residue.
25 year old male subject. Name withheld pending arraignment.
Blue 1996 Chevrolet Corsica, 4 Door.
Property Seized: 
Seized was 37.6 grams of marijuana, 1 pipe with marijuana residue in it, $474.00 in cash, 1 vehicle-1996 Chevrolet Corsica 4 Door.
Subject was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver & OUID.
Citations Issued: 
Citation was issued for OUID and Fail to Maintain Equipment.

Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that on 7-28-10 at 1310 pm, deputies made a stop on a blue Chevrolet Corsica for defective equipment that being a broken windshield.
     While interviewing the driver, deputies detected the odor of intoxicants coming from both his person and the vehicle. After standard field sobriety tests, deputies arrested the driver for OUID. Deputies found in Plainview a marijuana pipe. An additional search of the vehicle found 37.6 grams of marijuana & $474.00 cash.
     The suspect was arrested for OUID and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. He was lodged at the VBC jail for the offenses.

Investigating Officers: 
Deputy Matt Konkle, Deputy Adam Bielang
Assisting Deputies:  Van Buren County Narcotics Deputies
Contact Person: 
On duty Sgt. or Lt. Robert Kirk email

Incident No:   5173-10
Incident Type:   Warrant Arrest

Date & Time:  July 15, 2010 at approx. 3:30 p.m.

Location:  31000 block 62nd Avenue, Lawton MI, Antwerp Township, Van Buren Co.
Suspect:   Richard Lee Kirby, white male, DOB 7/24/1977.

Warrant Info:    Misdemeanor warrant for over $200-Less than $1000 out of Decatur PD.

Information:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler states the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office Narcotic’s Unit was following up on a report of meth lab dumpsites in the area of 31000 62nd Avenue, Lawton.
     During contact, a resident complained that there was a man, Richard Kirby, hiding in a bedroom closet. The resident requested assistance in removing Kirby from the home.
     After removing Kirby from the closet, Detectives learned that Kirby had been in a home next door to a residence in Paw Paw, where the VBC Narcotics Unit had executed a search warrant earlier in the day.  Detectives learned that Kirby had fled on foot from the home in Paw Paw when he saw the Narcotics Units and marked patrol cars preparing to execute the search warrant.  Kirby admitted that he panicked and fled from the area, ending up at a home of an acquaintance in Lawton, stating “
The Cops are after me.”  Kirby was allowed into the home where he promptly hid in the bedroom closet.

     After about an hour, Detectives arrived in the Lawton neighborhood following up on some meth lab dumpsites, which had been located and picked up earlier in the week. Upon arrival, Kirby had already been hiding in the closet for about one hour. After another hour of interviewing the neighbor, the resident asked if we would remove the man hiding in their closet. Detectives located Kirby hiding in a small bedroom closet underneath a pile of clothing.  He was completely drenched in sweat and was breathing very heavy and was found with several scratches about his arms and abdomen, from his flight through the woods. Kirby fled approximately 3-4 miles from the Paw Paw location to the Lawton location on 62nd Ave.  Kirby was not a suspect in either case, but was arrested on an outstanding warrant for Larceny.

Anyone with information relating to the meth lab dumpsites can contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office at (269) 657-3101, Crime Stoppers 1-800-342-7867, Silent Observer (269) 343-2100 or your local Police Department.

Investigating Officers:  Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit, Uniform Response Division
Supervisor Contact: 
Bryan R. Stump D/Lt., Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit, 205 S. Kalamazoo St., Paw Paw, MI 49079. Phone (269) 657-3101 Ext 208, email

Jun 2010

May 2010

Apr 2010

Incident #: 2856-10
Date and Time:  April 28, 2010 at approximately 3:00 a.m.
Incident Type: Fugitive warrant and Resisting arrest.
Incident Location:  59252 S. Lagrave in Antwerp Twp.
Suspect: Terry Allen Jones - date of birth, May 5, 1967
Warrant Info: Terry Allen Jones had a Parole Absconder warrant from Lansing Tether Unit.
Narcotics:  Marijuana was located in the residence along with several other drug  paraphernalia items.

Information:  Sheriff Dale Gribler reports that deputies proceeded to a residence in the 59000 block of South Lagrave in Paw Paw in the attempt to pick up a wanted fugitive.
     Deputies had developed information that the fugitive in question was staying in back of a house in a camper. When the deputies approached this camper, the wanted fugitive Terry Jones exited. Deputies identified themselves as law enforcement officers and advised Terry Jones that he was under arrest. Deputies attempts to handcuff this subject resulted in Terry Jones pushing the Deputy away, then ran. Deputies gave chase and were able to stop and arrest the suspect.
     A search of the suspects residence, that being the camper trailer he was living in, deputies discovered marijuana and other drug paraphernalia 
     The suspect, Terry Jones was transported  to the Van Buren County Jail where he was lodged for  Resisting an Officer, Possession of Marijuana and the outstanding warrant.

Assisting agencies:  Paw Paw and Lawton Police departments.
Investigating Officer: 
Deputy Casey Davis.
Contact Information:  On duty Sergeant or Lt Wm Lux at 269-657-3101, email

Incident #:   2633-10
Incident Type:  
ORV Crash
Date & Time of Incident:  
April 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm
Location of Incident:  
26th Street south of 60th Avenue, Antwerp Township.
Victim:   Jared Stauffer, 41 year old male from Mattawan.
Head and shoulder injuries.  Stauffer was transported to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo.
Vehicle #1:  
Yamaha 250 3-Wheeler.
Helmet worn:  
A helmet was not worn by the driver of the ORV.
Alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
Criminal Charges or Traffic Citations issued:  
The driver was cited for Operating an ORV on the Roadway and No Helmet on an ORV. 

Narrative:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Deputies were dispatched to 26th Street south of 60th Avenue in Antwerp Township for an ORV crash. 
     Investigation at the scene revealed that Stauffer was being towed on the ORV by a Chevy Trailblazer which was driven by his wife.  The pair were attempting to “jump start” the ORV by towing it behind the Trailblazer and popping the clutch with the hope that the ORV would start.  Their attempts were unsuccessful and while being towed the ORV flipped and threw Stauffer to the pavement.  Stauffer was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. 
      He was transported to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo with injuries to his head and shoulder.

Assisting Agencies:  Van Buren EMS, Mattawan Quick Response.
Investigating Officer: 
Deputy Travis Bernatche, Sgt. Scott Schmitt.
Contact Person: 
On-duty sergeant or Lt. William Lux at 269-657-3101, email

Mar 2010

Incident #:  1679-10
Incident Type:  Possession of Methamphetamine.
Date & Time of Incident:  March 14, 2010 at 6:40 PM.
Location of Incident:  31000 block 64th Ave, Antwerp Township.
Suspect Information: 

James Kevin Harris, 45 year old male from Lawton.
     2.   50 year old female from Lawton
, name to be released after arraignment. 

Narrative:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that were Deputies were contacted by employees at the Speedway Gas Station in Paw Paw in reference to a suspicious package.  The employees reported that a customer found a small pouch in the parking lot and turned it in to them. 
     Deputies checked the pouch and found several individually packaged bags of methamphetamine.  Deputies reviewed video footage from Speedway and identified a suspect
as James Kevin Harris.  Contact was made with the suspect at his residence and he admitted to losing the meth while at the Speedway.
     The suspect, a 45 year old male from Lawton, was found to be on Probation for operating and maintaining a lab involving methamphetamine.  The male suspect also had two prior meth-related convictions.

After obtaining a search warrant the second suspect, a 50 year old female from Lawton was also arrested on possession of meth charges after Deputies located additional meth at the residence.

Investigating Deputies:  Deputy Casey Davis, Deputy Travis Bernatche, Sgt. Scott Schmitt, Deputy Jim Charon.
Contact Person: 
Sgt. Scott Schmitt or Lt. William Lux at 269-657-3101, email

Feb 2010

Update on fatal accident
February 25, 2010

Memorandum Determination

                    TO:  VBSD
               FROM:  Juris Kaps,
                            Van Buren County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
MEMO DATE:  February 17, 2010

Jan 2010

Incident #:  170-10
Incident Type: 
Personal Injury 2 Vehicle Crash.
Date & Time of Incident: 
Wednesday, January 6, 2010, at approx. 1705 hours.
Location of Incident:
Red Arrow Hwy. near 27th Street, Antwerp Twp.
Vehicle #1: 
1998 Ford Ranger
     Driver 1:  Sean Patrick Killean, 41, Paw Paw MI.
     Injuries:  Minor cuts and bruises
Vehicle #2:  2003 Chevrolet Blazer
     Driver 2:  Diane Lauree Sokol, age 45, Paw Paw MI.

Narrative:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office investigated a two vehicle head-on crash on Red Arrow Hwy. near 27th street in Antwerp Twp. on 01-06-10 at 1705 hours.  
     #1 driver (Killean) was eastbound on Red Arrow Hwy approaching 27th street and lost control on the snow covered roadway.  #1 slid across the centerline of Red Arrow Hwy. and hit #2 (Sokol), who was westbound, head-on. 
     Both drivers were taken to Lakeview Hospital in Paw Paw, and were treated and released for cuts and bruises.  Airbags and seatbelts were instrumental in preventing serious injury or death in this crash. 
     Both vehicles totaled in this crash.

Assisting Agency:  Mattawan Police Department.
Investigating Officer: 
Deputy Charles Loughrin, can be contacted at 269-657-3101, ext 813, email.
Contact Person: 
On duty Road Sergeant, or Lt. William Lux can be reached at 269-657-3101, email.

Incident No: 10-10027
Incident Type: Snowmobile personal injury accident.
Date-Time:  January 1, 2010 at 2135 hrs
Location:  28,000 block 58th Avenue, Antwerp Township.
Victim-Driver:  Robyn Obrien, 38 yr old, Kalamazoo resident.
Information: Sheriff Dale R Gribler reports that Van Buren County deputies were dispatched to a private property snowmobile Personal Injury accident in Antwerp Township.
     Upon Deputies arrival, it was found that the 38 year old female victim had just recently been taught how to operate a snowmobile. The victim was stopped in the yard after receiving further operational instructions, for an unknown reason, the victim accelerated at a high rate of speed across the yard hitting a pole barn.
     The victim was transported to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo with serious injuries. 
     Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this accident
Investigating Officers: Deputies Tarner and Stasienko
Assisting Agencies:  VBEMS and  Mattawan QR

Dec 2009

Incident # 803019-09

Incident Type:

     1. Felony Warrant Arrest for Operating-Maintaining a Meth Lab

     2. Operating/Maintaining a Meth Lab
     3. Possession of Meth
     4. State Probation Violation 
     5. Possession of Marijuana 

Date & Time of IncidentWednesday, December 30th, 2009, at approx. 2:20 P.M. 

Location:  33555 56th Ave., Antwerp Township, Van Buren County (VBC), State of Michigan. 

Suspect Information: 

    1)  31 year old male, David Craig Smead, from the Paw Paw area.

    2)  44 year old male from the Paw Paw area who's name is being withheld at this time.  

Injuries:  None 

Weapons used:  None


Narrative:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reported that on Wednesday, December 30th, at approx. 2:20 P.M., detectives assigned to VBC Narcotics Unit, along with uniformed officers from the VBC Sheriffs Office and the Paw-Paw Police Department, went to 33555 56th Ave. to attempt to locate David Craig Smead.  Smead had a valid felony warrant out of VBC for Operating/Maintaining a Meth Lab (Incident #802905-09) from a previous incident which occurred at the same residence on September 15th, 2009.
     Contact was made with Smead at the residence and 6 (six) Meth Labs, Marijuana, as well as numerous other items commonly used in manufacturing meth, were located inside the residence during of the investigation.  During the investigation, officers also located a 44 year old male, who was in possession of methamphetamine and marijuana hiding in a small closet inside the residence.
     Smead was arrested on the outstanding felony warrant for Operating-Maintaining a Meth Lab.  Smead was transported to the VBC Jail where he was lodged on the warrant.  If convicted, Smead could face up to 20 years in prison, $25,000.00 in fines, or both. 
     The 44 year old male who was found hiding was also transported to the VBC Jail where he was lodged on a State Probation Violation.
     The Grand Rapids DEA was contacted and they dispatched a hazardous materials cleanup company to the scene.  Drug & Lab Disposal, out of Plainwell, responded to the scene and performed clean up on the meth labs/hazardous materials. 
     A report will be forwarded to the VBC Prosecutor's Office requesting additional charges for both men who were involved.       


Assisting Agencies:  Paw Paw Police Department, Van Buren Co. Uniform Response Division, Drug & Lab Disposal of Plainwell, DEA of Grand Rapids.
Investigating OfficersVan Buren County Sheriffs Office Narcotics Unit
Supervisor Contact:  D/Lt. Bryan Stump can be contacted at 269-657-7711 or via email.

Nov 2009

Oct 2009

Incident #:   8472-09
Incident Type:
  Single vehicle rollover, personal injury crash.
Date and Time: 
 October 31, 2009 at approximately 8:25 a.m.
I-94 westbound travel lanes near CR 653 located in Antwerp Township.
Driver #1: 
William Graff a 82 year old man from Garden City Michigan.
 Driver did sustain injury to his left shoulder area.  He was transported from the scene by ambulance to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo for treatment.
Vehicle #1:
  2008 Chevy Impala passenger car.
Seat Belt:
  Was worn. 

Information:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Van Buren County Sheriff Deputies, along with emergency responders were dispatched to I-94 westbound travel lanes near CR 653 for a report of a 1 vehicle rollover personal crash. 
     Emergency personnel on scene found the driver, identified as 82 year old William Graff from Garden City Michigan, out of his damaged vehicle and being attended to by passing motorist who had witnessed the crash take place.  William Graff, the only occupant in this vehicle, stated that while he was westbound on I-94, a strong gust of wind pushed his vehicle to the side, Graff stated in attempts to maintain control he overcorrected, lost control and traveled off the north side of the road and into the ditch, which cause his car to overturn twice. 
     Graff was transported by ambulance to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo for treatment of injuries sustained in this traffic crash.
     Emergency responders did note during this time wind gusts were strong in the area.

Photos:  I 94 61 mile marker 001.jpg   I 94 61 mile marker 002.jpg   I 94 61 mile marker 003.jpg

Investigating Deputies:  Sergeant David Walker.
Assisting personnel:  Paw Paw Quick Response Team, Van Buren EMS and Mattawan Village Police.
Supervisor contact: On Duty Sergeant or Lt William Lux at 269-657-3101 or email.

Incident #:   8459-09
Incident Type:  Semi (tractor-trailer) rollover crash, temporary closure and detour of I-94 eastbound travel lanes.
Date and Time:   October 30, 2009 at 10:40 p.m.
 I-94 eastbound travel lanes near CR 653 located in Antwerp township.
Driver #1: 
 Ronald Baldwin, a 43 year old man from Ionia Michigan. 
Injuries:  Driver uninjured.
Vehicle #1:
 2007 Ken Worth semi tractor unit, pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with two 50,000 pound rolls of steel.
Seat Belt:
  Was worn.

 Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Van Buren County Sheriff Deputies, along with additional emergency services personnel, were dispatched to I-94 eastbound near CR 653 for a report of a semi tractor trailer unit that had overturned on the highway. 
     Emergency responders on scene noted the driver, identified as 43 year old Ronald Baldwin out of Ionia Michigan, out of his overturned rig and uninjured.  Deputies investigation into the crash found, from information provided by this driver, that while he was traveling eastbound on I-94 the driver began to pass a slower moving vehicle.  During this pass, the trailer load shifted which caused the truck to lose control and overturn. 
     The crash scene cleanup required heavy duty wrecker equipment to remove the semi unit and its spilled load of steel from the highway which required traffic to be detoured from this area for several hours.

Investigating Deputies:  Deputy Loren Tarner.
Assisting personnel:  Michigan State Police, Paw Paw  and Mattawan Police, Paw Paw Fire Department.
Supervisor contact:  On Duty Sergeant or Lt William Lux at 269-657-3101 or email 

Incident #:  8136-09
Incident Type:  Meth Lab.
Date & Time of Incident: 
October 20, 2009 at 12:27 a.m.
Location of Incident:  29,000 block of Dennis Sweet Drive, Antwerp Township.
Suspect Information:  24 year old male from Lawton.

Narrative:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Deputies responded to the 29,000 block of Dennis Sweet Drive in Antwerp Township after receiving a tip that there was possibly a meth lab at this residence. 
     Upon arrival, Deputies made contact with the 24 year old resident.  After bringing the allegations of the meth lab to the attention of the 24 year old resident, the suspect did admit to using marijuana prior to the deputies arrival and that there may be meth in the shed.  Deputies were given consent to search the resident and the small shed in the backyard.  After Deputies gained consent, they did approach the shed in the backyard of the residence and could smell a strong chemical odor coming from the shed.  Deputies were given a key for the lock on the shed. Upon opening the shed, it was immediately evident that there was an active meth lad inside.  Narcotics Detectives were then contacted along with the fire department. 
     After further investigation, Deputies did discover an active one pot methamphetamine lab along with components inside the shed. 
     The search of the house did turn up a small amount of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia.  Along with the 24 year old male, 2 juvenile females ages 5 and 2 were in the residence. 

Assisting Agencies:  Deputies were assisted by the Van Buren Narcotics Division, Lawton Fire Department, and Child Protective Services.  The DAA from Grand Rapids was contacted for clean up services.
Investigating Officer:  Deputy Greg Pentland and Deputy Travis Bernatche, can be contacted at 269-657-3101
Contact Person:  Please call the on duty sergeant at 269-657-3101.

Sep 2009

Update on fatal accident
February 25, 2010

Memorandum Determination

     TO:  VBSD
FROM:  Juris Kaps,
            Van Buren County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
COMPLAINT NO:  #09-007474
     MEMO DATE:  February 17, 2010

     From my review of Incident #09-007474, I have determined that this office will not be authorizing any charges.  Since the drivers involved in the initial collision are deceased as a result of that collision, there would obviously be no criminal charges.  The other two accidents that involved police vehicles do not rise to the level of reckless operation that would justify charges.  We expect officers responding to a reported life threatening situation to do so in a rapid manner.  Simply because an accident may occur doesn't mean that they were negligent or criminally culpable.  The statutes that deal with operation of emergency vehicles, MCL 257.603 and MCL 257.632 are applicable to my analysis.  I don't believe that the facts of this case show a reckless disregard for the safety of others.
     It is not my position to determine whether these officers were acting within the policies of their respective departments, and I would leave that determination of their commanding officers.

Incident#:  7474-09 update September 29, 2009.  Additional Information on the previous news release issued by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.
     Keith Charles Rapp was pronounced dead on Sunday, September 26 at Bronson Methodist Hospital.
     Brianne Shaver, 21 years old from Kalamazoo, advised she was rending aid to the victim at the crash scene when the Paw Paw squad car struck the victim’s vehicle.  Shaver advised that her hand was hurt during the incident.  Shaver refused treatment at the scene. 
     On the night of the accident, the Paw Paw Police Department squad car was responding to the accident scene to assist this department.  The responding officers from the Sheriff’s Office arrived first.  Shortly after their arrival, the Paw Paw police car responding went to the south side of the Sheriff’s Office car and struck the left rear of the Haas vehicle.  The Paw Paw Police Officer was not injured.  Also responding was the Lawton Police Department who went to the north side of the Sheriff’s Office car and ran off the road, striking a mailbox.  The Lawton Officer was not injured.  Conditions at the time were that of smoke and light rain.  The Rapp vehicle was on fire upon arrival causing the smoke which apparently made visibility very limited.
     The Michigan State Police investigated the Lawton squad car incident, Sgt. Jim Campbell from the Michigan State Police is conducting the Accident Reconstruction investigation for the initial fatal accident and also the Paw Paw squad car incident. An autopsy was being done on the incident.  An investigation on the entire incident is continuing along with the Michigan State Police Reconstruction Unit, the Van Buren County Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Sheriff’s Office.
     A Paw Paw Fire Department truck, also at the scene, was damaged minimally while going around the accident scene, scraping the side of the truck against a vehicle involved in the crash.  The Sheriff’s Office is handling this report also. 
     If additional information is needed, contact Lt. William Lux, (269) 657-2006, email, Sheriff Dale Gribler, (269) 657-2006, email.

Incident#:  7474-09
Incident Type:
  Fatal Traffic Crash.
Date and Time:
  September 26, 2009 at 1:43 AM.
  Red Arrow Highway near 30th Street in Antwerp Township.
  Jeffrey James Haas, 23 years old, Decatur.
Injuries to #1: Haas was pronounced dead at the scene by the Medical Examiner.
Vehicle #1: 1990 Ford Ranger.

Driver #2:
  Keith Charles Rapp 37 years old, Kalamazoo.
Injuries to #2: Rapp sustained serious injuries and was transported to Bronson Methodist Hospital from the scene after being pryed out of his vehicle using hydraulic tools to cut open his vehicle. He is currently at Bronson hospital and listed in critical condition.

Vehicle #2: 1994 Chevrolet blazer.
  It is unknown at this time if alcohol was a factor and the accident is still being investigated.  

Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Deputies were dispatched to a two car personal injury crash at the location of Red Arrow Highway near 30th street in Antwerp Township.
     Upon arrival on scene, it was found that the Blazer was on fire and that Rapp was trapped inside of the vehicle and still breathing. Deputies extinguished the fire, and removed his face from inhaling toxic fumes from the fire. Rapp had to be extricated from the vehicle by the use of hydraulic tools. Accident Reconstructionist Sergeant James Campbell from the Michigan State Police responded to the scene and did reconstruct the accident. It is believed that the blazer was traveling westbound on Red Arrow Highway and crossed the center line and collided with the Ford Ranger which was eastbound, causing a major collision.
     Haas was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident and Rapp was transported to Bronson Hospital where he is listed in critical condition.  

Assisting Agencies:  Michigan State Police, Lawton Police Department, Paw Paw Police Department, Paw Paw Fire Department, VBEMS, Medical Examiner, Road Commission, Van Buren Victims Advocates.
Investigating Deputies:  Deputy Stolsonburg and Deputy Coles (269-657-3101).
Supervisor Contact:  On duty Sergeant or Lt. Lux (269-657-3101).

Incident #:  7173-09
Incident Type:

     1. Warrant Arrest
     2. Possession of Meth
     3. Maintaining a Meth Lab

Date & Time of Incident: 
Tuesday, September 15, 2009, at approx. 8:20 P.M.
Location of Incident: 
33555 56th Ave., Antwerp Township, Van Buren County, State of MI.
Suspect Information:

     Suspect #1:  21 year old female from the Paw Paw area identified as Tristan Lynne Bittner.
     Suspect #2:  31 y/o male from the Paw Paw area whose name is being withheld pending criminal charges.

Warrant Information:  
Tristan Lynne Bittner had a Criminal Bench Warrant for Contempt of Court out of the 36th Circuit Court, Paw Paw with a $1,000 cash bond. A second warrant was entered today for Failure to Appear, 36th Circuit Court, $1,000 bond.
Criminal Charges: 
Case remains under investigation. Prosecution will be requested for maintaining a meth lab upon completion of the investigation.

Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports the arrest of Bittner on an outstanding warrant.
     Narcotic's Detectives received information indicating that Bittner was cooking meth at 33555 56th Avenue, Paw Paw. Surveillance of the residence found Bittner leaving the home. Bittner was arrested and found to be in possession of a large quantity of pseudoephedrine tablets and a small amount of suspected methamphetamine.
     A search of the home at 33555 56th Avenue located all the components necessary for cooking the pseudoephedrine. Investigation of the scene led Detectives to believe that the home had been used for the manufacture of methamphetamine.
     D.E.A. Grand Rapids dispatched hazardous waste cleanup. Drug and Lab Disposal out of Plainwell responded to the scene and disposed of the lab waste.
Photos:   P9150055.JPG 
Assisting Agency:  Paw Paw Police Department, Van Buren County Sheriff's Office Uniform Response, DEA Grand Rapids.
Investigating Officer: 
Detective Dan Perkins and Detective Ronald Douglas, can be contacted at 269-657-8200 ext 3404.
Supervisor Contact:
D/Lt. Bryan Stump at 269-657-7711.

Aug 2009

Jul 2009

Jun 2009

Incident#:   802790-09
Incident Type:
Methamphetamine Lab
Date:   June 23, 2009 at approx. 6:00pm
Location:  28858 72nd Avenue, Antwerp Township, Van Buren County
Suspect:   51 yr old female, Lawton, MI   

Operate/Maintain lab involving Meth will be sought at a later date. 


     Sheriff Dale Gribler reports a Meth lab seizure at 28858 72nd Avenue, Lawton. Detectives from the Van Buren County Sheriff's Narcotics Unit were notified by the Lawton Police Department of possible Meth production at the Lawton home. Investigation revealed evidence of Meth production in the basement area of the home.
     During the search, several components used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine were seized both inside and outside of the home, along with evidence of Meth use. During the investigating of this case, it was determined that the suspect was a licensed foster care mother caring for two small children, who were currently in the custody of court out of Berrien County. Children's Protective Services of Van Buren County was called to the scene to assist. The Case Worker assigned to the case removed the children from the home pending relocation by Berrien County CPS. 
     Charges will be sought against the mother in this case for Manufacturing Methamphetamine, a twenty year felony.  Incident remains under investigation and, once completed and the crime laboratory reports received, it will be forwarded to the Van Buren County Prosecutors office for review.

Assisting Agencies:  Van Buren County Sheriff Uniform Response Division, Children Protective Services
Investigating Detectives:   Van Buren County Narcotics Unit
Supervisor Contact:   Bryan R. Stump D/Lt. 
Click here to send D/Lt. Stump an email.

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office
Narcotics Unit
205 S. Kalamazoo St.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Phone (269) 657-3101 Ext 208
Fax (269) 657-5161

Incident #:  4193-09
Incident Type:  Two Vehicle Traffic Crash with injuries. 
Date & Time of Incident:
June 9, 2009 at approximately 7:00 a.m.
Location of Incident:  Red Arrow Highway just east of CR 653, Antwerp Township, Van Buren County, State of Michigan.
Vehicle #1 Driver: 
31 year old, Franklin Malmstrom, from Paw Paw.
Vehicle #1:  Malmstrom was operating a 2002 Nissan Altima. 
Vehicle #2 Driver: 
59 year old, James Harrington, from Paw Paw. 
Vehicle #2:  Harrington was operating a 1994 Mercury Sable.
Injuries:  Malmstrom suffered a possible fractured leg, as well as other minor injuries, and was transported to Bronson-Lake View Hospital by VBEMS Ambulance. Harrington suffered minor injuries and refused medical treatment at the scene.
Hospital Information:  Malmstrom was transported to Bronson-Lakeview Hospital Emergency Department, in Paw Paw. 
Passengers:  No passengers in either vehicle.
Seat Belts used:  Yes, in both vehicles.
Is alcohol a factor?  Alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
Traffic Citation Issued: 
Malmstrom was cited for traveling left of the center line. 

Dale Sheriff R. Gribler reported that deputies responded to Red Arrow Hwy., just east of CR 653, on Tuesday morning for the report of a traffic crash with injuries.  Deputies reported that Franklin Malmstrom was traveling EB on Red Arrow Hwy. when he allegedly fell asleep at the wheel.  Malmstrom's vehicle subsequently crossed the center line and his vehicle collided with a vehicle being driven by James Harrington.  Malmstrom suffered a possible fractured leg, as well as other minor injuries and was transported to Bronson-Lake View Hospital by VBEMS Ambulance. Harrington suffered minor injuries and refused medical treatment at the scene.

Assisting Agencies:  Paw Paw Quick Response Team, Van Buren County Emergency Medical Services, Michigan State Police-Paw Paw Post. 
Investigating Officer:  Deputy Kimberly A. Desch or Deputy Ronald L. Douglas can be contacted at 269-657-3101.
Contact Person: 
Please call the on duty sergeant at 269-657-3101.

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