Assistant Prosecutor Derek Miller, of the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, discusses charges against three high-speed pursuit suspects during an April 5 press conference at the Sterling Heights Police Department.

Assistant Prosecutor Derek Miller, of the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, discusses charges against three high-speed pursuit suspects during an April 5 press conference at the Sterling Heights Police Department.

Police provide update on Macomb County pursuit

By: Eric Czarnik, Kara Szymanski, Kayla Dimick | C&G Newspapers | Published April 5, 2019

MACOMB COUNTY — Local police recently provided an update on a dangerous police pursuit that spanned multiple jurisdictions in Macomb County.

Sterling Heights Police Lt. Mario Bastianelli said at an April 2 press conference that police learned at around 7:15 a.m. that morning of “possible shots fired” in an incident involving two vehicles.

Bastianelli said the tip involved a Dodge Durango and a Ford Fusion, and police found the Durango headed south at 18 Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue.

Police then discovered that the Dodge Durango was pursuing the Ford Fusion, Bastianelli said.

Bastianelli said that the conflict between the two vehicles apparently was related to “something that happened in Utica, and these parties obviously knew each other.”

Police said the Durango pursuit led them to a neighborhood near Metropolitan Parkway and Schoenherr Road, and the Durango stopped. Bastianelli said police are interviewing the driver.

The pursuit of the Ford Fusion was more complicated. Bastianelli said a passenger exited the Fusion, and police reportedly searched around a house to find him. When police moved to investigate and track the passenger, the suspect managed to hop inside a Sterling Heights patrol vehicle that had been left running.

“As the car attempted to leave, our officer knew there would be another chase if this vehicle left that scene. The officer discharged one round into the rear tire of our police car, trying to disable that car from leaving the scene,” Sterling Heights Chief Dale Dwojakowski said during a second press conference April 5. “The officer knew if that (suspect) left that scene in a police car that there was going to be another high-speed chase, and the officer did everything in their power, which at that point, was trying to disable that tire.”

At no point did the officer point his gun toward the suspect, Dwojakowski said.

Police — including Macomb County Sheriff’s Office deputies — went after the stolen vehicle in a chase that ended up on westbound Interstate 94. The chase ended in a collision at I-94 and 12 Mile Road, and Bastianelli said the suspect who took the police vehicle was caught.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said April 5 that the Sheriff’s Office implemented a pursuit intervention technique maneuver to stop the vehicle.

“Our deputies picked up the stolen police cruiser on Gratiot and pursued the vehicle onto I-94, where a decision was made that if the opportunity presented itself, that that vehicle would be taken out to stop any further movement of that vehicle with an armed suspect inside — the suspect having access to weapons that may be inside that police cruiser,” Wickersham said.

During the PIT maneuver, one of the deputies crashed into an embankment.

“The vehicle was spun around, and the deputy that did the PIT maneuver ended up going up an embankment, through some trees and ended up in a backyard … and a second deputy that was in the pursuit was coming in at a high rate of speed and was unable to stop in time and actually crashed into the stopped cruiser,” Wickersham said.

Dwojakowski said that as officers were pursuing the stolen patrol vehicle, the Warren Police Department had located and was pursuing the Ford Fusion, which was traveling southbound on Van Dyke into Detroit.

Deputy Police Commissioner Robert Ahrens, of the Warren Police Department, said that when the alert of the pursuit was issued, Warren officers took action and monitored all the exit routes from Sterling Heights into Warren.

Ahrens said the Fusion was spotted at around 7:29 a.m. travelling in the center turn lane, bypassing other traffic, and the pursuit was started.

“One of the officers involved in the pursuit, which was the lead vehicle, was a new officer to the city of Warren, but he did 20 years in Detroit, so he had a vast line of experience and was very familiar with the area that the pursuit had entered,” Ahrens said. “As we were getting information from a news helicopter, it was being relayed to our dispatch center, and we knew exactly where this vehicle was at all times.”

The pursuit ended when the suspects fled on foot in the area of Linden Drive.

Dwojakowski said that out of two suspects in the vehicle, one was taken into custody, and one is still on the loose.

“There was a passenger in the Fusion. We’d definitely like to talk to him and get some more information, and we are looking for him,”  Dwojakowski said.

During the investigation, police discovered that the pursuit stemmed from an initial incident between all involved in the city of Utica.

Utica Police Chief Sean Coady discussed Utica’s role in the pursuit during a recent interview with C & G Newspapers.
“We got a call about a possible road rage; both parties had a dispute and an exchange of gunfire. It went to Sterling Heights from there. Sterling got calls because it passed through quite a bit of area. Both (Utica and Sterling Heights) received many calls. We believe they knew each other,” Coady said.

A total of three men were charged for the pursuit, Dwojakowski said, and were arraigned April 5 in 41A District Court in Sterling Heights.

Anthony Dwayne Brown, 31, of Detroit, was charged with fleeing and eluding a police officer, third degree. His bond was set at $100,000 cash/surety with a GPS tether.

Marcino Cartier Lattner, 26, of Westland, was charged with unlawful driving away of an automobile, fleeing and eluding, assaulting a police officer and malicious destruction of police property. His bond was set at $250,000 cash/surety with a GPS tether.

Braden Dalen Hubert, 27, of Detroit, was charged with felonious assault, discharging a firearm from a moving vehicle, felon in possession of a firearm, fleeing and eluding, and driving with a suspended license. At press time, no information was available on Hubert’s bond.

At press time, attorneys for Brown, Lattner and Hubert were not on file with the 41A District Court.

Assistant Prosecutor Derek Miller, of the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, said the men charged had no regard for the people around them during the pursuit.

“These defendants operated and acted with reckless disregard for the lives of the citizens on the roadway Tuesday,” Miller said. “Gunfire was being exchanged, and these individuals were acting in a very dangerous fashion.”

Coady also said that police are seeking the public’s assistance in locating the weapons that the suspects used.

“Multiple weapons were found. Some weapons were ditched during the incident, and we have searched our area pretty well, but we are asking that anyone that may come across one, please come forward; we do not want it to get in the wrong hands or potentially hurt a child or anyone else,” Coady said.

Dwojakowski thanked the departments that assisted in the pursuit, and although it was “every cop’s worst day,” he is thankful it didn’t happen on any other day.

“This was spring break week, thank God. This pursuit in Sterling Heights — the Durango chasing the Fusion — went through several school zones — a junior high located on 17 Mile Road, that at that time of the morning, there would have been hundreds of parents dropping their kids off at school, buses on the road,” Dwojakowski said. “It is a miracle it was spring break and there were no kids in schools, because this could have easily turned into a deadly police chase.”