Driver damages fence, landscaping

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 2, 2024

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Sections of the wrought iron fence around Osius Park have once again been mowed down by an allegedly intoxicated motorist.

At 2:27 a.m. March 20, police entered the park and encountered a 37-year-old Redford man whose vehicle had heavy damage, including a flat passenger-side tire. The driver had apparently plowed through the fence while he was traveling on Vernier Road.

“He continued to drive around the park until one of the patrol officers saw headlights on in the park,” Shores Public Safety Director Kenneth Werenski said. “He wasn’t sure how he got in, so he didn’t know how to get out.”

The driver — who Werenski said was uninjured — is alleged in a police report to have smelled strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech when police approached him. Police said the driver, who had a previous conviction for operating while intoxicated, refused field sobriety tests, including a preliminary breath test. He was arrested for operating while intoxicated and is also facing possible charges for not having insurance or registration, refusing to take a preliminary breath test and resisting arrest.

Although the city has a cost recovery ordinance to recoup some of its expenses after incidents like this, it likely won’t help here.

“There was no insurance on the car, so there’ll be no cost recovery,” Werenski said.

That doesn’t mean a judge can’t order the driver to pay for damages, but it’s not known whether that will happen or if the driver could afford to cover this expense.

At press time, Werenski said they didn’t have an estimate yet on the cost to repair the damage. The driver is said to have taken down at least a couple of sections of fence, the arrow sign that indicates the end of Vernier and multiple bushes.

Werenski said the driver’s car was full of grass and mud, and police followed a trail of leaking vehicular fluid, puddles and tire tracks to the spot where the driver crashed through the fence. Because of the darkness and the late hour at which the accident occurred, police didn’t immediately see that the driver had created his own entrance to the park.

Like the fence at Pier Park in Grosse Pointe Farms — which is at the foot of Moross and Lake Shore roads — Osius Park’s location at Vernier and Lake Shore roads makes it more subject to crashes by impaired drivers, who don’t realize until too late that the road they’re on is ending and they need to turn right or left on Lake Shore. Both parks have seen recurrent accidents over the years as a result of their locations.

Werenski said the Shores sees this kind of accident about once every three years, on average.

“It’s a common story,” Werenski said. “I expect it to happen again.”

It wasn’t known at press time whether the driver would be facing charges for damaging city property. He was cited in the police report for driving “without due care and caution, causing (an) accident.”