Man arrested after trying to drive away from police

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published September 2, 2020

 William Coker

William Coker


HAZEL PARK — One man is facing criminal charges and another was hospitalized after a vehicle recently fled police and crashed into a tree.

William Coker, 20, of Warren, was arraigned in Hazel Park 43rd District Court before Judge Brian Hartwell Aug. 26, charged with third-degree fleeing and eluding, a five-year felony, as well as assault/obstructing police, a two-year felony. He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of driving with no license, and is being held on a $25,000 cash bond. He has no prior criminal history.

His court-appointed attorney, Daniel Arm, declined to comment at press time since he had just been assigned the case and had not yet reviewed it.

The incident occurred the morning of Aug. 24 when Hazel Park Police attempted to pull over the suspect for a traffic violation. Coker allegedly made an illegal turn in the area of Nine Mile Road and the Interstate 75 service drive.

Instead of stopping, however, Coker reportedly accelerated north on John R Road, with police pursuing him at speeds around 60 miles per hour, passing through a construction zone at one point before ultimately losing control of his car, a 2002 Oldsmobile.

Coker reportedly crashed into a tree in the area of East Greig Avenue north of 11 Mile Road. While Coker was unscathed, his passenger, a 23-year-old Hazel Park man, received some injuries, including a possible broken leg. Coker abandoned his passenger at the scene, freeing himself from the car and fleeing on foot. He was subsequently arrested.  

Police took the injured man to the hospital where he was treated for several days. He refused to speak to the Hazel Park detective, so police are unsure of the relation between the two individuals. The passenger was later released from the hospital and is currently not facing any charges.

Madison Heights Police assisted with the pursuit. The vehicle that crashed sustained heavy damage to the front end.

“It definitely was a poor choice,” said Hazel Park Police Chief Brian Buchholz. “He would have been issued a citation, possibly had his car impounded and been sent on his way. Because of his poor choice, he now faces two felony charges.”

Buchholz said it’s fortunate no one else was hurt.

“I wouldn’t say it’s miraculous — it just so happened that traffic was very light, and even though he was speeding, (Coker) did not run through any red lights. The decisions to continue or terminate a pursuit have to be weighed, and need to be made quickly depending on many factors,” Buchholz said.