After half-hour chase, Sterling police arrest driver with family in truck

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published June 25, 2020

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A man who allegedly took his family with him as he led officers on a long and winding chase through Macomb County ended up arrested anyway, according to police. 

Sterling Heights police reportedly were summoned to the Panda Express parking lot at 14812 Hall Road around 7:45 p.m. June 23. Police suspected that the incident was a domestic dispute, responding to a report of a male suspect allegedly “armed with a stick” at the time. 

Then police learned that the family in question — a husband, wife and 1-year-old child — had gotten into a dark-colored Ford F-350 pickup truck and left the lot, heading eastbound along Hall Road/M-59. Police pursued and found the truck, but it reportedly fled from an attempted traffic stop.  

According to police dashcam footage, the chase lasted over half an hour. At first, along Hall Road, an officer orders the truck to “pull off to the right” and to “put your vehicle in park.” The truck is seen departing Hall and heading into a parking lot, but then the vehicle cuts through it and keeps moving, going southbound on Hayes Road. 

“The pursuit traveled through four different jurisdictions,” Sterling Heights Police Lt. Mario Bastianelli said in a prepared statement. “The driver disregarded numerous red lights through major intersections, and ultimately Stop Sticks were deployed.”

Police said the Stop Sticks, which are tire-deflation traps used by police, helped slow down the fleeing vehicle, but the pursuit continued. Clinton Township and Fraser police, and the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department lent a helping hand by shutting down roads to “minimize the risk to all involved,” Bastianelli said.

Police said the truck eventually stopped in Harrison Township after it had gone through a fence along North River Road. Amid the wailing of sirens, police arrested the driver. 

Bastianelli said an officer reported that the suspect had “made comments that prior to the pursuit, he wanted to ‘see how far he could push the officers.’”

“It was very clear in this incident that the suspect decided he was going to risk the lives of his family, which consisted of a 1-year-old child, along with the public, in attempts to push and bait the officers into making a mistake,” Bastianelli said.

Police said no injuries resulted from the pursuit, and the wife and child were found safe. Bastianelli praised all of the police departments involved for working as professionals to arrest “a very dangerous individual.”

“Police pursuits are some of the most dangerous, unpredictable events an officer can be involved in,” he said. “All officers, from multiple jurisdictions, did an outstanding job every step of the way!”

On June 25, police identified the suspect as Jason Vancoillie, 32, from Clinton Township. He was arraigned that day in 41-A District Court before Chief Judge Kimberley Wiegand and was charged with one count of fleeing and eluding and one count of malicious destruction of personal property between $200 and less than $1,000. Bond was set at $20,000 cash surety, police said.

According to the court, Vancoillie was granted access to a court-appointed attorney, but at press time one hadn’t been registered as assigned. His next court dates include a July 6 probable cause conference and a July 13 preliminary exam.

Anyone who has more information about this incident should contact the Sterling Heights Police Department by calling (586) 446-2800.

Call Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at (586) 498-1058.

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