Man leads police on chase from St. Clair Shores to Sterling Heights

By: Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published June 13, 2021

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ST. CLAIR SHORES/STERLING HEIGHTS — A 41-year-old Sterling Heights man is facing multiple charges after leading police on a chase across Macomb County.

According to the police report, a St. Clair Shores Police officer was stationed near Beverly Street at Jefferson Avenue at 9 p.m. May 20 when a red Toyota Corolla sped north on Jefferson Avenue at about 68 mph in a 35 mph zone. The driver of the vehicle allegedly stuck his middle finger up at the police officer as he drove by. The officer was aware that a vehicle matching that description had been used in a retail fraud earlier in the day, so he began to pursue the vehicle. The vehicle had been reported as stolen out of Macomb County.

The man led police on an extensive chase from Jefferson Avenue to South River Road to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources boat launch, through the launch and back down South River Road, hitting speeds of near 70 mph. The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office deployed stop sticks near L’Anse Creuse, which hit the front tire, but the vehicle continued up Gratiot Avenue to M-59 and then west on M-59. It became disabled at Dobry Drive in Sterling Heights, past Mound Road.

When police placed the man — identified as 41-year-old Steven Angelo Bartulio, of Sterling Heights — under arrest, he said he fled because he had absconded from parole. He told police that he had purchased the vehicle from a woman in exchange for drugs. He allegedly mentioned that he thought police were supposed to terminate the chase if he became a danger to the public. The man had a suspended driver’s license and two warrants out for his arrest from Lansing and Ferndale.

St. Clair Shores Police said the man was involved in a retail fraud at 11:52 a.m. May 20 from 7-Eleven, 27630 Little Mack Ave. An employee said the man allegedly came into the store and grabbed a shopping basket, which he filled with Red Bull energy drinks, cleaning items, phone chargers and accessories. The man then ran out of the store without paying for the items. The employee followed him out of the store and saw him get into a red Toyota. The license plate matched a stolen red Toyota Corolla.

Bartulio was arraigned May 21 in front of 40th District Court Judge Mark Fratarcangeli on charges of third degree fleeing and eluding, a five-year felony; second degree retail fraud, a one-year misdemeanor; and driving with a suspended license, a 93-day misdemeanor. Bond was set at $60,000 cash or surety.

Bartulio’s attorney, Cynthia Rafaill Czech, said she had no comment on the case at this time.