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Jan 2011

Dec 2010

Incident No:  9537-10
Incident Type:: Domestic Violence, Fugitive Arrest, Resist and Obstruct Police
Date and Time:
  Tuesday December 21,2010 at approximately 1716 hours
Location:  69,000 block of 70th Street, Hartford Township
Suspect:  Jeffery Lee Sliter 12/21/1963, 53 year old, white male.
Victim Information:  47 year old, white female
Victim Injuries: Contusions and Bruising to the neck area. 
Arrested: Jeffery Lee Sliter for Resisting, Domestic Assault & Contempt of Court Warrant.

Information:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Deputies were dispatched to a private residence in the 69,000 block of 70th Street, Hartford Township, for a 911 call being received that a male was physically assaulting a female at the residence.
     Upon Deputies arrival, the Investigation determined that a 53 year old male and another male acquaintance were at the residence consuming intoxicants when the two males got into a verbal argument. The victim-girlfriend of the suspect attempted to break the two males up when the suspect, who was highly intoxicated, became physically aggressive and began assaulting the victim with his hand, fist and feet. The suspect then threw a chair at the victim.
     Prior to Deputies arrival the suspect fled the area on foot. Police K9 Xago was requested to scene due to suspect being wanted for the Domestic Violence and having a valid Fugitive Warrant for Contempt of Court out of the 7th District Courts.
     K9 Xago tracked the suspect from a neighboring residence into multiple fields, woods and a swamp. K9 Xago located the suspect where the suspect continued to attempt to flee from Deputies. K9 Xago apprehended the suspect where he was taken into custody and later transported to the Van Buren County Jail where he was lodged for Domestic Violence, Resisting and Obstructing Deputies and the outstanding Fugitive warrant. 

Assisting Agencies:  Assisting at the scene was the Hartford Police Department. Investigating Officers:  Deputy Greg Pentland, K9/Sergeant Scott Schmitt, Deputy Ben Ludwig, Deputy Miriam Sipes.
Supervisor Contact:  Sergeant Scott Schmitt (269) 657-3101 ext. 3801 email or Operations Lieutenant Robert Kirk (269) 657-2006 ext. 3851 email

Incident #:  9519-10
Incident Type:
Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Resisting and Obstructing Police
Date & Time of Incident:  Monday, December 20, 2010 at 7:35 p.m.
Location of Incident:  59000 block of 60th St., Hartford Township
Suspect Information:  Jose Lopez Gonzalez 3/29/63, 47 year old male from Hartford.  The suspect's name is being withheld pending arraignment.
Victims:  36 year old male from Decatur, 28 year old male from Hartford.  Both victims are employed by Aaron’s Sales and Lease in Benton Harbor.
Injuries:  The 36 year old victim sustained injuries to his face and hands caused by broken glass.  The 28 year old victim sustained a laceration to his hand caused by broken glass.
Hospital Information:  Both victims refused medical treatment.
Weapons used:  6 pound sledgehammer 

 Count 1: Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Felonious Assault) 4 year Felony
     Count 2: Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Felonious Assault) 4 year Felony
     Count 3: Assaulting/Resisting/Obstructing a Police Officer 2 year Felony
     Count 4: Malicious Destruction of Personal Property $200 or more but less than $1,000, 1 year Misdemeanor

Narrative:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Deputies were dispatched to the Hartford Fire Department to make contact with two victims of a felonious assault who were being pursued by the suspect.  Upon Deputies' arrival the suspect had fled the area. 
     The victims are both employed by Aaron’s Sales & Lease out of Benton Harbor.  They advised that they responded to a residence in the 59000 block of 60th St. to repossess property that had been rented.  The victims identified themselves as employees with Aaron’s Sales & Lease and were invited into the residence.  The employees were advised that the property owners were not home and were told to return later. 
     At this point the suspect came out of a room and began pushing the victims.  The victims retreated to their work truck to await the return of the property owners.  While waiting in their truck the suspect emerged from the residence wielding a sledgehammer.  The suspect then swung the sledge hammer, striking the driver’s side window of the work truck.  Before the employees were able to leave, the suspect made it to the passenger side where he swung the sledgehammer and struck the window.
     The victims were able to flee the residence in the truck.  The suspect jumped into another truck and began chasing the victims.  The suspect chased the victims into the city of Hartford where police contact was made.
     Deputies, along with Troopers from the Michigan State Police, responded to the suspect’s residence in the 59000 block of 60th Street where they attempted to contact the suspect.  While the occupants of the residence were being questioned, the suspect fled out the back door.  Deputies chased the suspect through farm fields and an orchard for nearly 3 miles.  The suspect was eventually located hiding in a tree and was taken into custody.  While Deputies attempted to take the suspect into custody they were met with resistance and the suspect was subsequently pepper-sprayed.
     The suspect was lodged at the Van Buren County Jail for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Resisting and Obstructing Police. 

Assisting Agencies:  Michigan State Police, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Tribal Police, Hartford Police Department.
Investigating Officer:  Deputy Casey Davis, Sgt. Scott Schmitt, Deputy Jim Charon, Deputy Travis Bernatche, Deputy Miriam Sipes.
Contact Person:
 Sgt. Scott Schmitt at 269-657-2006 x3801 or Lt. Bob Kirk at x3851, email.

Photos:  P1010019  9519-10 12-20-10.jpg    P1010013  9519-10 12-20-10.jpg

Nov 2010

Incident Number:  80042-10
Incident Type:   Narcotics Search Warrant for Cocaine. 
Date and Time:
  November 5, 2010, 8:45 a.m.
 Jerrdean Drive, Hartford Township in Van Buren County
Charges Sought:  Possession of cocaine - 4 counts of delivery of cocaine.
33 year old male, who resides at this residence part time & listed address, is out of Covert, MI 

Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office Narcotic’s Unit has been conducting a series of controlled crack cocaine purchase from the suspect in this investigation.  On this date after conducting a controlled buy of crack cocaine the detectives obtained a search warrant for this residence and executed it this morning. The suspect was found to be the only one home at the time. A small amount of crack cocaine was located along with scales and currency.
     The suspect is pending a similar charge of cocaine sales and has to report to Van Buren County probation office. He was lodged in the Van Buren County Jail on a probation detainer pending arraignment on the new charges.
     The suspect will be arraigned on Monday, after the prosecutor reviews the reports. The suspects name will be released at that time.
     This incident remains under investigation pending an interview of a roommate.

Anyone with information can contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office at (269) 657-3101, Crime Stoppers 1-800-342-7867 or Submit CrimeStoppers tips here.  For Silent Observer (269) 343-2100 or Submit Silent Observer tips here or your local Police Department.

Assisting Agencies:  Van Buren County Uniform Response & K-9 unit.
Investigating Officers: 
Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit
Supervisor Contact:  Bryan R. Stump, D/Lieutenant, (269) 657-7711 ext 3846 Office, (269) 657-8296 West Office, or by email.

Oct 2010

Sept 2010

Aug 2010

Jul 2010

Incident Numbers:  5515-10, 5512-10, 5511-10, 5510-10, 5509-10
Incident type: Larceny from Motor Vehicles
Incident Location: Various addresses in the areas of 54th Ave and CR687, Hartford Twp
Incident date and time:  July 26, 2010 early morning hours

Narrative:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that deputies were dispatched to several addresses in the Hartford Township area in regards to victim’s vehicles being broken into over the night.
     During the investigation, deputies were advised that the victims involved had left their vehicles unlocked overnight and when they awoke noticed the interior of their vehicle in disarray. The items stolen ranged from GPS units to loose change.
     Sheriff’s Office wants to remind everyone to make sure to secure vehicles when leaving them.

If anyone has any information, contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office at 269-657-3101; Silent Observer at 866-774-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 800-342-7867.  Tips may also be submitted from our website at
Submit Silent Observer tips here  or  Submit CrimeStoppers tips here

Investigating Deputies:  Van Buren County Uniform Response
Contact person: On-duty Sgt. 657-3101 or Lt. Robert Kirk at 657-2006 Ext 3851 or email.

Incident No:   5413-10 
Incident Type:
  Motor vehicle theft (unlawful use), No license, Failing to report/identify after being involved a traffic crash, Open alcohol in motor vehicle
Date and Time:   Crash on July 23, 2010 at 9:30pm. Located and arrested on July 24, 2010 at approximately 10:00am 
Location:  Crash occurred in the 48000 block of CR 681 in Hartford
Suspect:    61 year old Hartford Township man
Suspect Vehicle (stolen-recovered): 1994 Plymouth Voyager van which sustained major front end damage
Information:   Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Deputies were dispatched to a hit and run property damage crash in the 48000 block of County Road 681. 
     Upon arrival, Deputies noticed the vehicle that remained on scene had extensive front in damage on the driver side.  This vehicle occupants told deputies that the suspect vehicle that had apparently left the scene continued south bound on County Road 681.  Deputies were unable to locate the suspect on the night of the crash, during the thunderstorm. 
     On the next morning, Deputies were dispatched back out to the area near the original location to make contact with a homeowner, who found an unknown vehicle in their field.  Deputies were able to determine that the 94 Plymouth minivan in the field was the suspect vehicle from the hit and run accident the night before. A check of this vehicles damage noted it to be severely damaged and numerous empty and partially full beer cans scattered about the interior as well.  Deputies were able to track down the owner of the vehicle a 44 year old Hartford resident.  It was then discovered that the vehicle had been stolen from his residence the night of the crash. 
     Deputies were able to develop a subject residing in a nearby migrant camp as a possible suspect.  The suspect a 61 year old Hartford resident was located and interviewed.  The suspect admitted to taking the vehicle without permission and leaving the scene of the crash on County Road 681 because he did not have a license. 
     The suspect was lodged at the Van Buren County Jail for the above listed charges. Name withheld pending arraignment.

Investigating Officers: 
Deputy Greg Pentland, Sgt. David Walker.
Supervisor Contact: 
 On-duty Sergeant or Lt Bob Kirk at 269-657-3101 email

Jun 2010

May 2010

Homicide Sentencing - Juanita Lucille Jackson, black female, 49 years of age
Juanita Lucille Jackson 5-10-10

Incident No:   08-84574 
Today's Date:  May 10, 2010.
Victim:  Bruce Allen Woody, black male, 47 years old.
Date of Original Incident: October 05, 2008

Information:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that on May 10th, 2010, Juanita Lucille Jackson was sentenced for murder in the stabbing death of Bruce Allen Woody, which occurred in the early morning hours of October 5th, 2008 in Hartford Township.
     Juanita Jackson was taken in to custody, placed under arrest, and lodged in the Van Buren County Jail on October 5th,2008 for the murder of Woody, where she has remained until today’s sentencing date.    
     Juanita Lucille Jackson Pled Guilty to Second Degree Murder in Van Buren County 36th Judicial Circuit Court on April 13th, 2010.  
     Juanita Lucille Jackson was sentenced to 20 to 30 years in States Prison on today's date.

Contact Information:  Detective Sergeant Thomas J. Macyauski, 269-657-7711, email
Contact Supervisor: 
Detective Lieutenant Bryan Stump, 269-657-7711, email

Apr 2010

Mar 2010

Incident #:  1408-10.
Incident Type: Operating While Intoxicated, Leaving the scene of an accident, Failing to report an accident.
Date and Time: March 3, 2010 at 20:15 hours.
Suspect Vehicle: 1998 Buick passenger car.
Victims Car:  2001 Mazda passenger car.
Alcohol: Alcohol was a factor in this crash.
Suspect:  40 year old male from Watervliet, MI
Victim: 41 year old female April Lewis
from Hartford, MI
Injuries: No injuries where reported in this incident.

Information:  Sheriff Dale Gribler reports that Deputies where dispatched to the 68000 Block of Red Arrow Hwy [Hartford Township] for a hit and run accident.
     Deputies arrived on scene and where told by the victim and witnesses that the driver, a whi
te male, fled the scene. The victim stated that she pulled out of her driveway and was heading east on Red Arrow Hwy. She advised Deputies that she saw a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed behind her and was struck in the rear end. The accident pushed her vehicle off the side of the road and sent the suspect vehicle into the ditch and near a creek. The driver ran into the woods after the accident. Deputies located the driver down the road trying to obtain a ride from other motorists. Deputies where able smell an odor of alcohol on the suspect and, after evaluations, determined he was highly intoxicated.
     The suspect was taken to Van Buren County jail on the listed charges.
Investigating Officers:  Deputy Casey Davis, Deputy Jim Charon.
Contact person: 
Sgt Wayne Polomcak

Feb 2010

Incident #  10-1159.
Incident type:  Home invasion, aggravated domestic assault.
Date and time:  February 18, 2010, 23:10
Location:  59644 60th Ave., Hartford Twp, Van Buren County
Victim:  22 year old female;  Harford resident 
 23 year old Kalamazoo resident. Name withheld until arraignment. 

Information:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that deputies responded to a hartford twp residence where an ex-boy friend had kicked a door in, breaking into, and entered the residence. 
     The suspect had sent text messages bragging about hurting the victim when he gets there and going to jail, prior to arriving at the residence.  After entering the residence the suspect assaulted, choked, and struck the victim.   The victim was able to fight the suspect off and he was pulled from the victim by a family member.  The suspect broke away from the family member, attacking the victim a second time prior to police arrival.
     Officers took the suspect into custody.  He is current lodged at Van Buren County jail. The victim was treated at a local hospital and released.  

Assisting agencies:  Hartford Police Department and Coloma EMS.
Contact: On duty sergeant at (269) 657-3101 or Lt. William Lux at (269) 657-2006, email.

Jan 2010

Incident #:   Multiple 2010 incident numbers
Incident Type:
  Multiple vehicle personal injury crash, temporary closure of I-94 eastbound travel lanes.
Date and Time: 
 January 1, 2010, starting at around 1:00 p.m.
 I-94 eastbound travel lanes from 70th street to CR 687 in Hartford Township.
Drivers/vehicles/injuries:  Multiple passengers cars and semi tractor trailer units.  Several persons were injured and were transported by ambulance to area hospital, or these persons were treated by emergency responders at the scene.

Factors in the crash:  Speed appears to be a factor, as there was heavy snow fall at the time, snow covered slippery road surfaces. Alcohol was not in any of these crashes.

Information:   Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Van Buren County Sheriff Deputies and additional emergency personnel were called to I-94 near the Hartford exit (CR 687) for a report of a multi-car crash in this area. 
     Emergency responders on scene noted between 30-40 motor vehicle in about a one mile span of this area either crashed, or had slide off the road requiring tow trucks to remove them.  Van Buren County Sheriff Deputies, Berrien County Sheriff Deputies and Troopers from the Michigan State Police handled over 20 of these as either property damage, or personal injury crashes.  All injuries were minor. 
     I-94 eastbound travel lanes were closed for approximately 2 hours from Watervliet to Hartford while dozens of wrecker services assisted clearing these cars from the scene.

Investigating Officers:   Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office, Berrien County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police.
Assisting Agencies:  Hartford Fire Department, Coloma EMS, Coloma Township Police Department, Van Buren EMS.
Supervisor contact: On Duty Sergeant or Lt William Lux at 269-657-3101 email.

Photos:  28 photos slideshow.

Dec 2009

Incident #:   9974-09
Incident Type:
  2-car personal injury crash.
Date and Time:   December 31, 2009 at approximately 10:45 a.m.
 54000 block of CR 687 located in Hartford Township.
Vehicle #1:   1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck.  Major front end damage was sustained to this pickup resulting from this traffic crash
Driver:  William Traver, a 44 year old Hartford man.  Subject sustained facial injuries and body trauma to which he was transported by ambulance to Watervliet Hospital for treatment where he is listed in good condition.  Driver was seatbelt in.
assenger vehicle #1:  Rebecca Traver, 41 year old Hartford woman.  Subject sustained facial injuries and body trauma to which she was transported by ambulance to Watervliet Hospital for treatment where she is listed in good condition.  Passenger was seatbelted in.
Vehicle #2:   2005 GMC pickup, which sustained major front end damage from this traffic crash.
     Driver:   John Foley a 64 year old Bangor man.  
Subject sustained facial injuries and body trauma to which he was transported by ambulance to Watervliet Hospital for treatment where he is listed in good condition.  Driver was seatbelt in.
Factors in the crash:  Speed appears to be a factor.  Alcohol was not. 

Information:   Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Van Buren County Sheriff deputies along with additional emergency services personnel were called to the 54000 block of CR 687 in Hartford Township for a reported 2 vehicle personnel injury crash. 
     Emergency responders on scene began treatment of 3 injured persons in these two vehicles.  All three persons were stabilized at the scene and transported by ambulance to Watervliet Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. 
     Deputies were able to obtain information from both drivers that the 1999 Ford pickup truck driven by William Traver, his wife Rebecca a passenger, were southbound on CR687 when this driver lost control on the slippery road surface, crossed the center line, striking head-on John Foley who was operating his 2005 GMC pickup truck northbound.  This collision then forced both vehicles off the road and into a ditch. 
     Traver was cited for traveling to fast for conditions.

Investigating Officer:  Sergeant David Walker, Uniform Response Division.
Assisting Agencies:
  Hartford Fire Department, Coloma EMS.
Supervisor Contact:
 On Duty Sergeant or Lt William Lux at 269-657-3101, email.

Nov 2009

Incident#:  8840-09
Incident Type:  Warrant arrest/narcotic violations/carrying concealed weapon/obstructing Date/Time:   
November 12, 2009 at approximately 11:15 a.m.
Location:  52000 block of CR 687 located in Hartford Township.
Vehicle:  1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

#1:  Michael Joe Reyna, a 26 year old Hartford man, lodged in the Van Buren county jail on the following charges: 
           1) possession of meth components
           2) obstructing
           3) carrying a concealed weapon
           4 and 5)  2- Bench warrants for child support
           6) felony warrant for possession of a taser
           7) domestic assault.
     #2:  Lisa Marie Reyna, a 24 year old Hartford woman, lodged in the county jail on the following charges: 
           1 and 2) bench warrant for contempt of court traffic violations
           3) shoplifting warrant  
           4) failure to appear warrant.
    #3:  Jacqueline Michelle Collis, a 24 year old woman from Coloma.  Subject lodged in the Van Buren county jail on the following charges: 
           1)  possession of meth components 
           2)  bench warrant out of the Berrien county sheriff’s office for failure to appear.
Seized:  Several different components used in the manufacturing process of methamphetamine.

Information:  Sheriff Dale. R. Gribler reports that Van Buren county sheriff deputies investigated a reported domestic assault that had occurred in Bangor township early this date.  
     The victim, identified as 24 year old Lisa Reyna, stated she had sustained injuries from this assault to which she was transported by ambulance to Watervliet hospital for treatment. 
     Deputies further investigation discovered 4 warrants for Lisa Reyna, as were there warrants for the alleged suspect-husband, identified as 25 year old Michael Reyna. 
     Deputies were  able to develop information on a possible vehicle Michael Reyna maybe operating, that being a black 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
      As officers began attempts to locate Michael Reyna, Van Buren County detectives, who were assisting, discovered the suspect and vehicle north of Hartford City limits on CR 687.  Detectives made contact with Michael Reyna and his 24 year old passenger Jacqueline Collis of Coloma and arrested them both on their outstanding warrants. 
     Uniformed officers and detectives did also check the suspect’s vehicle finding several components  used in the manufacturing process of methamphetamine.   
    Further investigation discovered in this vehicle were, clubs and knives to which Michael Reyna stated he carried for protection.  
     All subjects were transported to and lodged in the Van Buren county jail on their above listed charges.

Arresting deputies:  Sergeant David Walker, Deputy John Stolsonburg and Detectives from the Van Buren county Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Bureau.
Supervisor Contact:
Contact the on duty Sergeant at (269) 657-3101, or Operations Lt. William V. Lux at (269) 657-2006 or by email.

Oct 2009

INCIDENT #:  7666-09.
INCIDENT TYPE:    Semi (tractor/trailer unit) versus car personal injury crash.
DATE AND TIME REPORTED:  October 3, 2009 at  0219 HRS
LOCATION:   I-94 near the 48mm which is located in Hartford Township.
DRIVER  #1:   Erin Ellis a 40 year old female from Indianapolis Indiana.
     VEHICLE: #1:  2004 Buick Reiner  4 door passenger car.
DRIVER #2:  Raymond Johnston a 45 year old man from Chatham Ontario (Canada).
     VEHICLE #2: 2007  Freightliner semi tractor trailer unit.
ALCOHOL:  does not appear at this time to be a factor. 

INFORMATION:   Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Van Buren County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to I-94, near the 48 mile marker, which is in Hartford township in regards to a  personal injury crash that reportedly involved a car and a semi. 
     Deputies, while investigating the crash, found that the car involved had just broken down and was setting in the right travel lane on the eastbound side with no lights on. It was during this time, the operator of this broken down car was on the phone for a few seconds attempting to call for help when the Semi collided with her vehicle. 
     Ellis sustained injury, but was in stable condition this morning at Watervliet Hospital. The Semi Driver from Ontario was not injured.  Substantial damage occurred to both vehicles.

Investigating Officers: Sgt D Harvey, Dep Hocksprung, Dep Tarner.  
Supervisor contact: On Duty Sgt or Lt. Lux  657-3101.

Sep 2009

Incident # 7578-09
Incident Type:  OWI crash, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Driving Without a License, Outstanding Warrant Arrest.
Date and Time:  September 29, 2009 22:45 hours.
Location:  66th Ave. and 60th St. in Hartford Twp.
Driver:  Emigdio Hernandez-Hernandez DOB 11-26-89
Injuries:  The driver did not sustain any injuries.
Vehicle:  1998 GMC Astro Van.
Alcohol:  Alcohol was a factor in this crash.

Information:  Sheriff Dale Gribler reports that deputies were dispatched to the intersection of 66th Ave. and 60th. St in Hartford Twp.
     A power line worker called Van Buren County Central Dispatch advising that he was working on the power lines in the area when a vehicle ran thru the intersection, almost striking him. The vehicle crashed into several trees after leaving the roadway. The witness advised Dispatchers that the driver was leaving the scene. Deputies located the driver several miles away and found the driver highly intoxicated.
     The driver,  who was underage, was taken into custody and transported to the Van Buren County Jail where he was lodged for Operating While Intoxicated.  The driver also had a warrant out of Benton Twp. Police Department for Domestic Violence.
     The Midwest Energy worker stated that the driver, Emigdio Hernandez-Hernandez, caused approximately $500.00 to $600.00 worth of damage to the utility equipment.

Assisting Agency:  The Hartford Police Department assisted Deputies with the traffic crash. Investigating Officer:  Deputy Casey Davis (269) 657-3101 Ext. 835.
Supervisor Contact:  On duty Sgt or Lt. William Lux.

INCIDENT #: 6693-09
:  Breaking and Entering with Intent, Possession Burglary Tools.
DATE AND TIME:  Tuesday, September 1, 2009, at approximately 1:56 a.m.
INCIDENT LOCATION:  Michigan Department of Human Services, 57150 County Road 681, Hartford MI 49057.
SUSPECT INFORMATION:  Male, 24 year old, Covert Residence (name to be released upon arraignment).

INFORMATION:  Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that in the early morning hours of September 1, 2009, Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to the Michigan Department of Human Services at approximately 1:56 a.m. after Van Buren Central Dispatch received a report from an alarm company reporting a motion alarm at the business.
     Upon arrival, Deputies located a window that had been pried open with the screen removed. A short time later, a suspect was observed running throughout the building and, at one point, the suspect was observed trying to throw an object through a window in an attempt to flee from deputies.
     Upon arrival of assisting personnel, Sheriff K9 Xago was utilized. As Sheriff K9 Xago was brought into the building and announcement given, the suspect appeared, where he attempted to flee out an unlocked door. The suspect was immediately taken into custody by Deputies. The suspect was found to have numerous tools and equipment used for breaking into buildings that was located on his person.
     In addition, Deputies located the suspect’s vehicle that was parked in a wooded area a short distance from building. The male suspect was taken into custody and lodged at the Van Buren County Jail pending arraignment. The male suspect was found to be on Parole for additional Breaking and Entering.
     The Michigan Department of Human Services did receive extensive damage from the suspect kicking in and prying open doors.

ASSISTING AGENCIES:  Michigan State Police (Paw Paw Post), Covert Township PD, Bangor Police Department, Hartford Police, Watervliet Police, Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, Coloma Township PD, South Haven Police Department.  
INVESTIGATING OFFICERS: K9 Sergeant Scott Schmitt (269) 657-3101 ext. 801, Deputy Travis Bernatche, Deputy Casey Davis, Deputy Greg Pentland, Deputy John Stolsonburg, Deputy Todd Oliver.  

Sergeant Scott Schmitt
Van Buren County Sheriff's Office
Uniform Response - K9 Division
205 S. Kalamazoo Street
Paw Paw MI 49079
Telephone: (269) 657-3101 ext. 801
Click here to send an email

Aug 2009

Jul 2009

Incident # - 09-5316
Incident Type
Personal Injury Crash
Date & Time of Incident -  July 13, 2009 at 3:00 p.m.
Location of Incident
59 1/2 Street, .5 miles north of Red Arrow Highway Hartford Township.
Vehicle #1
1989 Blue Ford Pickup 
Driver #1 - Ryan Thomas Meachum, 32 Year old male from St. Joseph, MI

Vehicle #2 -
  2007 Silver Roketa Moped
     Driver #2 -
Daniel Wayne Holland, 19 Year old male from Hartford, MI.  
Injuries -
Possible broken rib, road rash and multiple cuts and abrasions, non-life threatening injuries.
Hospital Information -  Victim was transported to Watervliet ER by VBEMS. 
Seat Belts used
Helmet Used - No

Is alcohol a factor -  Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in this crash. 
Criminal Charges or Traffic Citations issued -
No Criminal Charges.  A citation was issued to Driver #1 for improper passing. 

Narrative -
Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reported that Ryan Thomas Meachum crashed into Daniel Wayne Holland on 59.50 Street, .5 miles north of Red Arrow Highway. Both vehicles were southbound on 59.50 Street when Holland slowed to turn left into a private drive.  Meachum was passing on a double yellow no passing zone as Holland was turning into the drive. Holland was hit and thrown from the moped onto the roadway sustaining multiple injuries. Holland was transported to Watervliet ER by VBEMS.

Assisting Agencies - Paw Paw Quick Response Team, Van Buren EMS
Investigating Officer - Deputy Kim Desch and Deputy Ron Douglas can be contacted at 269-657-3101.
Contact Person - Please call the on duty sergeant at 269-657-3101.

Jun 2009

Incident #:  4652-09
Incident Type:
Home Invasion-Assault with intent to commit murder investigation.
Incident Date and Time:   June 24, 2009 at approximately 12:30 a.m.
Incident Location:  56000 block  65 ½  street in Hartford Twp.
Suspect: 36 year old male from Grand Rapids (name withheld pending location).
     39 year old male from Hartford area (refused medical treatment, suffered minor visible injuries)
     29 year old female from the Hartford area.
Weapon:   The suspect used a blanket in attempts to suffocate the victim to the point of  unconsciousness, as did the suspect choke and punch the victim as well.

Information:  Sheriff Dale Gribler reports that Deputies were dispatched to a 911 call in the 56000 block of 65 ½ street for a assault and home invasion complaint.  Deputies arrived on scene and made contact with the two victims. The victims stated that a old boyfriend to the 29 year old female came into the house while the two were sleeping and started assaulting the male victim. The male victim was punched in the face multiple time and then placed in a choke hold until he went unconscious. The suspect wrapped a blanket around the male victims face and then continued to punch him in the face. The male victim stated he woke up and then was able to defend himself enough until he was able to escape the house and run down the street to safety. The female victim stated after she seen her ex-boyfriend in the house she tried to defend the male victim. When she saw him go unconscious, she ran into the living room where her daughter was with a friend. She stated she tried to protect he daughter until the suspect left the residence. The female victim told the suspect that the police were called and the suspect fled the house in his vehicle.  Deputies have identified the suspect and are attempting to locate him, at this time, to which charges sought are going to be that of home invasion and possibly that of assault with the intent to murder, as the suspect had attempted to suffocate the male victim.

Investigating officer:  Deputy Casey Davis
Supervisor Contact:   On-Duty Sergeant or Lt. Lux

Incident #:  4611-09
Incident Type:

1. Domestic Assault
     2. Poss. Marijuana
     3. Assault Police Officer
Date & Time of Incident:  
Monday, June 22, 2009, at approx. 11:50 A.M.
Location of Incident
:  62785 Red Arrow Hwy, Hartford Twp, Van Buren County, State of Michigan.
Suspect Information:  Matthew John McLellan 38 years out of Kalamazoo (Son)
61 year old Hartford man, whose name is being withheld at this time (Father)
Hospital Information:   Bronson Lakeview E.R. for a high alcohol level
Injuries Sustained: 
Is alcohol a factor? 
The suspect had a .32 BAC. 
Criminal Charges: 
    1. Domestic Assault (Misdemeanor)
    2. Poss. Marijuana (Felony)
    3. Assault Police Officer (Felony)

Dale R. Gribler reports that Deputies, along with Hartford Police Department, were sent to a Domestic In Progress with a fight between father and son. After arriving on scene, they made contact with the father, who advised that they were arguing about the son’s dog which had just died. The son then started punching his dad.  The father advised that his son was out back sitting in his car and was highly intoxicated and will fight with Police if he is confronted.  As the Officers went out back, they found the son passed out in the car.  After several attempts, they did wake the son.  In trying to talk to the son, he was too intoxicated and did not make any sense, so they arrested him for Domestic Violence.  After handcuffing the son, he was searched and a small amount of marijuana in his right front pocket of his shorts was found.  After he was brought to the jail, he was given a PBT and was taken to the Hospital for being highly intoxicated.  After getting him to the Hospital, the subject started fighting with Officers. He then kicked one of the Officers in the leg and, at this point, he was put in leg restraints and was then treated and released by the Hospital, then lodged at the Van Buren County Jail for the charges listed above.

Investigating Officer:  Deputy Kim Desch, Deputy Ron Douglas, can be contacted at 269-657-3101.
Contact Person: 
Call the on-duty sergeant at 269-657-3101.

Incident Number:  4469-09
Incident type:
  Fatal Motorcycle Crash
Date and Time of Accident:  June 17, 2009 at 3:15pm
Location of Crash:  I-94 at County Road 687 in Hartford Township
Operator of motorcycle:  Brian Christopher Tufnell, 31 year old Laingsburg Michigan man. Subject sustained fatal injuries as a result of this traffic crash (helmet worn).
Passenger on motorcycle:  Michael Logan Tufnell, 11 year old Laingsburg Michigan boy (helmet worn). Passenger sustained several lacerations to various parts of his body along with a broken clavicle.
Motorcycle information:  1982 Yamaha Motorcycle.
Alcohol:  Alcohol was not a factor.

Sheriff Dale R. Gribler reports that Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to the scene of a motorcycle crash on the exit ramp of eastbound I-94 at County Road 687 in Hartford Township at about 3:20pm yesterday. Information given was that the motorcycle had caught on fire and there were two victims involved. When Deputies arrived on scene a private citizen and a Motor Carrier Officer were giving CPR to the driver of the motorcycle. Another bystander, who stopped at the crash scene, attended to the passenger of the motorcycle who also was visibly injured. Hartford Fire Department arrived on scene and extinguished the engulfed motorcycle. Emergency Medical Technicians and Medical Personal arrived on scene and provided medical attention to the injured boy. He was later transported to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo for medical treatment. The driver of the motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene. It appeared that Tufnell was exiting eastbound I-94 and may have been traveling too fast to negotiate the curve on the exit ramp. The skid marks on the pavement indicated that Tufnell locked up the brakes on the motorcycle in an attempt to stop, but slid sideways and off the ramp into the grass. Both were thrown from the motorcycle.

Assisting Agencies:  MSP Motor Carrier Officer, Hartford Fire Dept., Medic 1 Ambulance, Medical Examiner’s Office.

Investigators:  Deputy Rich Wallace, Deputy Ray Hochsprung, Van Buren County Sheriff's Office.
Supervisor Contact:  On duty Sergeant or Operations Lt William Lux at 269-657-3101.

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