Robbery suspect crashes during police pursuit

Suspect may be linked to carjacking incidents in Ferndale

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published April 25, 2013

HAZEL PARK — A 45-year-old Detroit man has been charged in the attempted robbery of a Hazel Park restaurant and his efforts to escape police, and he may face additional charges if he is linked to multiple carjacking incidents in Ferndale, as well.

Hazel Park Police Chief Martin Barner requested that the suspect’s name not be disclosed, to avoid tainting an identification lineup that is part of Ferndale’s investigation.

The suspect was arraigned before Magistrate James Paterson at the Hazel Park Police Department due to a weekend arraignment April 20. The suspect is charged with armed robbery, a felony punishable by any number of years up to life in prison; fleeing and eluding, a five-year felony; and resisting and obstructing, a two-year felony.

He is being held on $2 million, cash bond or surety.

The Hazel Park incident occurred around 1 p.m. April 19. The suspect is said to have entered the Hardee’s at 23240 John R, carrying what appeared to be a handgun. He allegedly announced he was robbing the place. The cashier, a 20-year-old Hazel Park woman, withdrew from the front counter and backed away from the service area, backing up toward the manager’s office.

At this point, the suspect left the Hardee’s with no money in hand. Officers were already en route to the restaurant on a 911 call and witnessed the suspect enter a red or maroon 2002 Subaru Impreza, confirmed stolen out of Ferndale in an April 18 carjacking.

What followed was a high-speed car chase as police gave pursuit.

“He zigzagged through the neighborhoods a bit,” Barner said, noting the suspect went from Carlisle, to Nine Mile, to Highland, to the I-75 service drive, then back around down the service drive to Eight Mile, jumping I-75 to the south side of Eight Mile.

The suspect is said to have hit speeds of 120 mph while on both I-75 and Davison. There was medium traffic that afternoon, Barner said.

Ultimately, the suspect crashed, colliding into a parked car at Conant and Seven Mile.

“He struck the vehicle at approximately 65 mph,” Barner said. “It was a front-corner-to-rear-corner collision.”

The vehicle was no longer fit to drive. The suspect stepped out of the vehicle and wrestled a bit with the responding officers, but he was taken into custody shortly thereafter.

“He sustained some injuries (from the crash) that required medical attention,” Barner said. “He was later cleared for incarceration that evening.”

The suspect has been linked to a carjacking of the Subaru Impreza he used in his attempted escape, stolen the night before when a man and his son pulled into their driveway and parked. The father told Ferndale police the suspect stuck an object into his chest and demanded the keys, which the victim turned over to him. The suspect then fled westbound on Wordsworth.

This may or may not be the same suspect who, earlier the night of April 18, is said to have approached two other men at the State Fair Market on Hilton, first approaching a man in a Trailblazer and failing to steal his vehicle, and then trying another man leaving the store after his purchase, only for the man in the Trailblazer to yell out a warning.

When the suspect demanded the second man’s keys, the victim pushed him away, at which point the suspect allegedly struck the victim in the head with the brown bag the victim had been holding. There was glass inside the bag, which broke. The victim suffered a laceration to his head, and the suspect is said to have fled.

Going back even further, the first carjacking attempt that night was in the 500 block of Silman, where two men were pulling into their driveway. They told police that the suspect started banging on the driver’s window, yelling for the driver to exit the vehicle. When the suspect opened the door and grabbed the driver, the driver pushed him off, and the victims then made their escape by driving away.

Police started hearing about these crimes around 9:40 p.m. The victims all produced the same suspect description, and police were already investigating a hit-and-run accident on Academy that involved a vehicle stolen in a carjacking in Detroit; the vehicle was later found abandoned on Wordsworth during the Subaru theft. 

Barner lamented the repeated robbery attempts.

“These individuals committing these kinds of acts are desperate,” Barner said.