Royal Oak police say narcotics involved in case of driver who hit pedestrian, fled

By: Mike Koury, Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published September 22, 2020




ROYAL OAK — At approximately 10:30 p.m. Sept. 4, Royal Oak police officers on patrol observed a 2013 GMC Terrain run a red light and nearly strike a vehicle at South Main and Fourth streets.

Officers initiated a traffic stop and the male driver pulled over. A female passenger exited the vehicle from the passenger’s side, and as officers began to speak to the driver, he reportedly drove away northbound on Main Street at a high rate of speed.

Lt. Al Carter, of the Royal Oak Police Department, said the woman exited the vehicle “erratically” and was in a panic due to the driver’s reckless driving in Ferndale. She reportedly told officers that the driver had picked her up in Detroit to “go do narcotics at his house in Warren.”

Carter said police found a crack pipe in her possession, issued her a citation for narcotics paraphernalia, and released her.

“When officers approached the vehicle to speak with him, they noticed fresh damage (to his vehicle) and realized right away there was more to this than just running a traffic light,” Carter said. “He took off and she was on the sidewalk.”

Officers broadcast the vehicle’s license plate and pursued the GMC Terrain, which police said was still traveling at excessive speeds, to Madison Heights before terminating the pursuit for the safety of the public. Madison Heights police attempted to stop the fleeing vehicle once it entered their jurisdiction.

“We value the relationship we have with all our other local police agencies. Communication in this incident was key in starting the notification process allowing for information to be shared,” Lt. Michael Siladke, of the Madison Heights Police Department, said in an email. “We are always happy to assist other agencies whenever the opportunity presents itself.”

Carter said Ferndale police heard Royal Oak’s description of the vehicle and notified Royal Oak police of an incident potentially regarding the vehicle and suspect.

According to Ferndale Police Community Engagement Officer Jill Mahlmeister, officers had responded to Nine Mile Road and Woodward Avenue at approximately 10:30 p.m. for a report of a personal injury. They arrived to find that a 40-year-old Hazel Park man had been hit by a vehicle.

“Upon arrival, (officers) observed the (Hazel Park man) laying in the northbound Woodward roadway, just north of Nine Mile Road,” she said. “Witnesses on scene stated that the victim laying in the roadway was struck by a vehicle and that the vehicle had ran a red light and fled after he struck the pedestrian.”

According to witnesses, Mahlmeister said, the suspect’s vehicle actually had hit another vehicle, one driven by a 32-year-old Northville man, before striking the pedestrian.

The Hazel Park man was said to have suffered fractures in both of his legs, while the Northville man reported no injuries.

Mahlmeister confirmed Carter’s account of the case, stating that Ferndale police received word of a similar situation in Royal Oak with a black SUV that matched the vehicle in the Ferndale incident. She also said that Ferndale officers were able to find pieces from the vehicle’s driver’s side mirror that were matched to the GMC Terrain.

Carter said the license plate was registered to the driver, and Warren police responded to his residence in Warren. Warren police observed the GMC Terrain park in the driveway and witnessed the suspect run into the house, where he reportedly locked himself in his bedroom.

“He was with multiple family members in the house, and they and police were able to convince him to come out of his bedroom,” Carter said. “We believe he was under the influence of some type of narcotic, based on his behavior.”

Police arrested the suspect, 50-year-old Warren resident Michael Lemonnd Robinson, for fleeing and eluding and driving while license suspended.

“It was a good joint effort between all police organizations to arrest a very dangerous individual driving very recklessly and putting the public at risk,” Carter said.

On Sept. 7, 44th District Court Magistrate Donald Chisolm arraigned Robinson on one count of third-degree fleeing and eluding, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine, and one count of a second or subsequent offense of operating with license suspended, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Mahlmeister said that once Ferndale police get the medical records for the Hazel Park man, they will be pursuing multiple hit-and-run charges against Robinson with the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to police, Robinson currently has 10 active warrants from Detroit, 19 current license suspensions on his driving record, and a criminal history including felony breaking and entering, larceny from a person, assault with intent to do great bodily harm, unlawful driving away of an automobile, larceny by conversion, and receiving and concealing stolen property.

On Sept. 18, Robinson’s case as charged was bound over to the Oakland County Circuit Court. His arraignment before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jeffery S. Matis is set for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 25. At press time, Robinson’s defense attorney, J. Herbert Larson, said he was evaluating the case and would be sitting down with his client within the week.

Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski contributed to this report.