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Copyright ©2005

  Sheriff's Office - News Releases  


Allegan County Sheriff's Office
112 Walnut Street
Allegan, MI  49010
Phone 269-673-0500


Allegan County Sheriff�s Office


Date: March 8, 2007

Contact: Undersheriff Jim Hull (269) 673-0500, ext. 4220

or Lt. Frank Baker, ext. 4267, Sgt. Bud Randall, ext. 4424

or Deputy David LaBonte, ext. 4207



Each year M.A.D.D. Michigan recognizes six law enforcement officers who, through their enforcement and education efforts, have worked to get drunk drivers off Michigan�s roadways.


On February 22, 2007 Allegan County Sheriff�s Deputy David LaBonte was presented with the M.A.D.D. 2006 �Life Saver� award for his efforts to combat drunk driving. Deputy LaBonte was honored both for his involvement as a speaker at victim impact panels as well as his arrests of 95 drunk drivers on Allegan County roads during 2006.


Deputy LaBonte has served as a member of the Allegan County Sheriff�s Office since August 2002. He received his Life Saver award at a luncheon ceremony held at the Michigan State University Kellogg Center in East Lansing.


Other officers honored for 2006 were: Officer James Reamsma-Lakeview Village Police Department, Officer Tom Cole-Fenton City Police Department, Trooper Erin Wilber-Michigan State Police-Ypsilanti Post, Trooper Daniel Rebar-Michigan State Police-Bay City Post, and Deputy Wesley Bierling-Newaygo County Sheriff�s Office.


A photo of the six Officers at the ceremony is available upon request.





SUBJECT: Fatal Crash on I-196 near 140th Ave.

   Sgt Chris Kuhn at (269)673-0500 Ext: 4475 or
   Lt. Frank Baker at (269)673-0467

On 3-07-07 at approximately 8:35 AM the Allegan County Sheriff Department responded to the report of an unknown rollover crash on I-196 near 140th Ave. Upon arrival it was determined that the single occupant of the vehicle, the driver, was deceased on the scene and was trapped in the vehicle as it lay upside down in the median.

Witnesses who were following behind the vehicle stated that the vehicle was not speeding and was traveling normally in the inside lane near the median as a car was slowly passing it in the outside lane. The witnesses stated that as the vehicle in the outside lane came up next to the victim's vehicle the victim suddenly swerved and turned sharply to left.

There was no contact with the passing vehicle and it only appears that the victim driver may have been startled by the passing vehicle next to him. The victim vehicle spun sideways in the lane and left the roadway where it rolled over in the median going airborne for a short distance. The vehicle landed on the driver's side roof area causing the roof structure to collapse down onto the driver. The driver was wearing a seatbelt but the roof damage was severe to cause fatal injuries to him.

The crash is still under investigation by the Allegan County Sheriff Department Crash Reconstruction team but there was no evidence found at this time that would indicate another vehicle made contact with the victim's vehicle. The victim is a Mexican National and his Mexican Visa was found in his belongings. He also did not have a driver's license from any state in the USA and driver inexperience may be involved. The road was wet but not icy and the weather did not play a roll in the crash. The victim was staying with family members in Lowell, IN and was traveling to Grand Rapids to make arrangements to move there.

Deceased Driver: Alberto Carrillo-Samano, male, DOB: 7-03-84; from Lowell, IN and Maravatio, Michoac�n Mexico


RELEASE DATE: 02-28-2007

SUBJECT: Personal Injury Crash

Contact Person(s): Lt. Frank Baker

(269) 673-0500 ext. 4267

On 02-07-2007 at approximately 6:07 pm the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department was dispatched to a three car personal injury crash on 58th street near 128th Avenue north of Fennville.

Upon arrival it was found that occupants were pinned in two of the three vehicles and Fennville Fire Department was required for extrication. Three vehicles had been involved in this crash two of which hit head on. AMR Ambulance transported all patients.

One vehicle was occupied by four teenagers from the Fennville area. Two of these teens were transported to Holland Hospital with serious injuries. One teen was transported to Allegan General Hospital with serious injuries. The fourth was transported to Butterworth Hospital with critical injuries.

In the other two vehicles were a 51 year old woman from Allegan who was transported to Holland Hospital with minor injuries and 37 year old Fennville man who was uninjured.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this accident and it appears seat belts were worn.

Fennville High School officials have been notified and will be taking necessary crisis response actions for students at Fennville High School on Wednesday morning.

The accident remains under investigation by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department Accident Reconstruction Team.




Date: 2/23/2007

Contact: Detective Len Mathis at 673-0500, ext. 4422

Subject: NEWS RELEASE: Sheriff’s Office offers Internet Scams Presentation

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office has developed a presentation to warn consumers of the multitude of on-going internet scams crowding e-mail inboxes and popping up on computer screens daily. The presentation covers several topics, from Nigerian sympathy schemes to counterfeit check laundering.

If your group or organization wishes to arrange a presentation, please contact Detective Len Mathis at the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office by calling 269-673-0500, extension 4422.



Allegan County Sheriff’s Office


RELEASE DATE: 2-17-2007


CONTACT PERSON(s): DETECTIVE JOHN STIDHAM 269-673-0478 – Direct line



In the early morning hours of Saturday, February 17, 2007 Allegan County Central Dispatch received a 9-1-1 call from the Admiral gas station in Plainwell advising that they had just been robbed at gunpoint.

Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene as well as officers from Plainwell’s Department of Public Safety to find that the suspect had fled. The on duty clerk told investigators that a Black male had entered the station wearing all black with a black ski mask. The suspect then brandished what is believed to be a smaller semi-automatic handgun and demanded money from the register.

Upon receipt of the money, the clerk was then struck in the head with the gun, taken to a room behind the counter where he was bound with duct tape and left behind closed doors. The suspect apparently left in an unknown direction, possibly on foot.

A Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit was utilized at the scene however the track was unsuccessful. It is unknown if any vehicle’s were in the area waiting for the suspect.

The suspect is described as an unknown aged black male standing approximately 6 foot tall, stocky, wearing all black colored clothing including gloves and a black ski maskwith no unusual markings or insignias. He was also said to possess what was described as a smaller black colored semi-automatic handgun. The suspect fled in an unknown direction and has yet to be located.

Taken from the Admiral gas station was an undisclosed amount of cash and three cartons of Marlboro Menthol cigarettes.

The gas station employee received minor injuries resulting from the assault and was treated by Plainwell EMS and PIPP Hospital in Plainwell.

Assisting the Sheriff’s Office was officers from Plainwell’s Department of Public Safety, the Otsego Police Department, and Plainwell EMS.

The Sheriff’s Office believes that there may have been a possible witness who may have been at the station trying to pump gas during this time that has not been identified and are asking anyone with any information to contact either the Sheriff’s Office directly at 269-673-0500, Central Dispatch at 269-673-3899 or Detective John Stidham at 269-673-0478. Silent Observer may also be utilized.






Allegan County Sheriff’s Office


Date: 2/13/2007

Contact: Undersheriff James Hull, 269.673.0420

Subject: Deceased subject found on 10 th Street near bridge construction site

On Thursday February 8, 2007 at 8:06 a.m., troopers from the Michigan State Police � Wayland Post were dispatched to a report of a found body near the 10 th Street bridge construction site by construction workers returning to work following the winter storm earlier in the week.


The State Police did discover a body matching the description of a subject reported as a missing and endangered person. The BOL (BE ON THE LOOKOUT) for a missing person was received by Allegan Central Dispatch on Monday, February 5, 2007 at 4:02 p.m. The BOL described a 1995 Chevy Lumina 4-door, dark blue, and a clothing description of what the subject was last seen wearing.


On Friday, February 9, a concern was raised because a plow truck driver had called in a suspicious vehicle complaint on Sunday, February 4 at 4:58 p.m. near the same location where the body was found.


According to an investigation conducted by the Allegan County Sheriff's Office, the records indicate that on Sunday, February 4, a County Road Commission plow truck driver called the Michigan State Police Post in Wayland. The plow truck driver told the State Police that approximately three hours previous to his call; he had observed a suspicious or abandoned vehicle near the construction zone. The vehicle was described as a blue Lumina, with keys in the ignition, but no one was around the vehicle. The State Police contacted Allegan Central Dispatch and relayed the information to them to dispatch a police unit to the area.


At 4:58 p.m., Allegan County Central Dispatch dispatched an Allegan County Sheriff's Office unit to �a driveway near the construction zone south of Bradley on Division ( 10 th Street ), the plow truck driver from the Allegan County Road Commission said he saw the vehicle about three hours ago.� The Sheriff's Office unit responded and checked the area south from Bradley to the construction site, stopping and turning around at the barricades blocking the roadway north of the construction site. The Sheriff�s Office unit then checked along 10 th Street once again as it returned north to Bradley. The Sheriff�s Office unit did not locate the vehicle in question and reported to Allegan County Central Dispatch that the vehicle was gone on arrival to the area, and cleared the complaint.


The blue Lumina was ultimately located by the returning construction workers behind a pile of construction debris approximately 100 yards south of where the Sheriff's Office unit had turned around.






Allegan County Sheriff’s Office


Date: December 7, 2006

Contact: Sheriff Blaine Koops 269.673.0500, ext. 4223
or Undersheriff Jim Hull, ext. 4220

Sheriff Blaine Koops and his staff, along with their families and friends, have compiled some of their favorite recipes into a cookbook: Cookin’ with Cops 2006 – Favorite Recipes from Law Enforcement Professionals. This cookbook is being sold as a fundraiser to support a new scholarship for students in criminal justice studies. The scholarship, entitled ALLCOPS Scholarship for Criminal Justice Professionals was created by the Sheriff-Community Relations Advisory Board, and is administered through the Allegan County Community Foundation. The group plans to award the first scholarships in Spring 2007.

This first cookbook is being offered for only $10. It is hoped that a different cookbook will be compiled each year, with new favorite recipes, as well as award-winning recipes from the Sheriff’s Annual Cook-Off winners. The Sheriff’s Annual Cook-Off was created in 2002 by Sheriff Blaine A. Koops as one part of an awards banquet/celebration for members of the Sheriff’s Office, both retired and active. Employees contribute a dish from the required category for that particular year; chili, seafood, soup, etc. and after dinner, the votes are tallied to determine that year’s winning chef. Over the years, the celebration has become very popular, and the competition in the Cook-off is fierce.

The 2006 cookbook contains some of the winning Cook-off recipes, along with other favorite recipes from our staff, family and friends. To obtain your cookbook, contact Gail at the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office, 269.673.0500, ext. 4264.

Click here for a picture of cookbook


RELEASE DATE: 11-30-2006

SUBJECT: Milk Truck Fatal Crash from September

CONTACT PERSON(S): Sgt. Chris Kuhn (269)673-0500 Ext. 4475 or

Lt. Frank Baker (269)673-0467

The suspect driver in the fatal crash involving the milk truck and passenger vehicle from September 16, 2006 has been charged with Negligent Homicide and was arraigned in the 57th District Court on November 30, 2006. The female driver of the passenger car who was severely burned continues to be treated for her injuries.

Any questions regarding the charges or case specifics should be directed to the Allegan County Prosecutor's Office at (269)673-0280.

Suspect Driver: Christopher E.R. Sneden W/M 7-18-86

Victim: Taylen Keith Mccomiskey W/M 5-11-05

Injured Driver: Julie Mae Mccomiskey W/F 3-14-81



Date: November 22, 2006

Subject: Snowmobile Safety Classes

Contact: For Questions, contact Lt. Frank Baker 269.673.0500 ext. 4267,
or Sgt. Bud Randall, ext. 4424
To Register, contact Kari, ext. 4234

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office will offer free Snowmobile Safety Classes in December and January . These classes are sponsored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and are held at the Allegan County Snowmobile Club, 1697 36th St., Allegan.
Those who satisfactorily complete the class will be awarded a snowmobile safety certificate.

This class is designed for people of all ages who are interested in safe snowmobiling, but Snowmobile Safety Certificates are required for persons 12-16 years of age who wish to operate a snowmobile. Each class will be limited to the first 35 students enrolled.

There are two dates available for the class, Saturday, December 9th 2006, and January 6th 2007. Class will run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, and participants should bring a sack lunch. There is no cost involved, but pre-registration is required. To register, call the Sheriff’s Office at (269) 673-0500, ext. 4234.

For additional information, check the snowmobile section of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website at,1607,7-153-10365_14824---,00.html, or the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office website at

According to the DNR publication Michigan Snowmobile Safety & You:

A person, under the age of 12:
-may not operate a snowmobile without the direct supervision of the parent or guardian except on property owned or controlled by the parent.

-may not cross a highway or street.

A person who is at least 12 but less than 17 years of age:
-may operate a snowmobile under direct supervision of a person 21 years of age or older, or have in their immediate possession a valid snowmobile safety certificate.

-may not cross a highway or street without having a valid snowmobile safety certificate in their immediate possession.


Allegan County Sheriff’s Office

CONTACT: Lt. Frank Baker ( 269) 673-0500, ext. 4267
Allegan County Sheriff Blaine Koops Announces:
Risky Teen Driving will be STOPPED by Law Enforcement
Allegan, MI – The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office, local police departments, and the Michigan State Police will be implementing an innovative program aimed at reducing risky teen driving in Allegan County. The program – Sheriffs Telling Our Parents & Promoting Educated Drivers (STOPPED) – aims to increase parental involvement in order to reduce traffic crash injuries and deaths among teenagers and young adults.

“This creative partnership will save lives and we’re excited to do our part,” said Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who is making STOPPED program information available to customers in several branch offices. “It gives parents a new tool to immediately address risky driving behavior by their teens. But, just as important, it also lets our children know that we care. The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association and AAA Michigan deserve our thanks for working with families to prevent needless tragedies.”

STOPPED will be funded by a generous grant from AAA of Michigan and was brought to the state last year by the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association. The program is being expanded to include 17 new counties in addition to the original seven counties from the pilot program that was sponsored by the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP).

“AAA Michigan is very pleased to have the opportunity to support an initiative such as the STOPPED program.  AAA has a long history of traffic safety and any program aimed at reducing risk and raising awareness for our teen drivers is a step in the right direction to protecting this ‘at risk’ group," said Jack Peet, Manager of Community Safety Services for AAA Michigan.

In 2005, drivers in our target age group of 16-21 comprised 9.3% of the licensed drivers in Michigan, but were responsible for 16.3% of the crashes in our state. “Inexperience, risk-taking behavior, and immaturity are all factors that increase the crash risk for young drivers,” commented Michael Prince, OHSP Division Director.
“There is nothing more important to a parent than the protection of their children; sheriffs and all of law enforcement understand this and we are here to help you in any way we can,” said MSA Executive Director Terrence L. Jungel at the launch of the pilot program in March of 2005.

STOPPED provides a window decal for every vehicle that will be driven by a person under 21 years of age. The decal provides a constant visual reminder for young people to act responsibly while they are on the road and out of sight of their parents.

Vehicles are registered in a centralized database, maintained by the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association. If a registered vehicle driven by a person under 21 years of age is stopped for any reason, law enforcement officers will complete a notification card. A letter will then be sent home to the young person’s parents indicating where they were, why they were stopped, how many people were in the car, and whether a citation was issued.

Enrollment in the program is free and voluntary.  Parents can enroll in the STOPPED Program by accessing the Michigan Sheriff's Association website at and clicking on the "Get Stopped!" link, by picking up a brochure at any Secretary of State Office and mailing in the enrollment form, or by contacting the Allegan County Sheriff's Office at 269.673.0500.


Date: 11/6/2006

Contact: Detective Len Mathis, 269.673.0500, ext. 4422

Subject: Sheriff’s Office Warns of Secret Shopper Scams

With the upcoming holidays, ‘tis the season when “Secret Shopper” scams begin to surface once again. Detective Len Mathis of the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office warns that these operations send out spam e-mails and victims that respond are sent a letter requiring the victim to complete one or more assignments at legitimate businesses, represented by logos or by name on the letter.

The victim is asked to cash a check enclosed with the letter, then wire funds back to the “Secret Shopper” office, usually located outside the U.S., allowing the victim to keep a generous training fee for completing the assignment.

When the cashed check is returned from the victim’s financial institution as counterfeit, the victim is held financially responsible for the amount of the counterfeit check, but the “Secret Shopper” scam operation has received legitimate funds from the victim’s wire transfer.

Allegan County residents that suspect they have been scammed by one of these operations are urged to contact the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office at 269.673.0500.


RELEASE DATE: 10 – 24 – 2006

SUBJECT: Serious Traffic Crash

CONTACT PERSON(S) Sgt. Chris Kuhn 269-673-0550 ext 4475 or Lt. Frank Baker, 269-673-0500 ext 4267

VICTIM: Jason Michael Johnson, 21 year old from Traverse City, MI

On Tuesday, October 24, 2006 at 12:05 pm Allegan County Sheriff’s Deputies along with Saugatuck – Douglas Police Officer’s responded to a reported traffic crash on southbound I-196 near the 41 mile marker at the Saugatuck exit.

Upon arrival, deputies found a single vehicle which had left the roadway and collided with a tree. The driver, later identified as 21 year old Jason Johnson of Traverse City was discovered in the vehicle and had to be extricated by fire personnel. Johnson was treated by paramedics on scene and taken to Holland Hospital by ambulance and later transferred to Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids with serious injuries.

Witnesses report that Johnson’s vehicle was traveling south on the freeway at excessive speeds passing other vehicle’s when he lost control and ran off the roadway. At this time, Johnson remains hospitalized in critical condition from injuries sustained in the traffic crash. Johnson was wearing his safety belt at the time.

Speed and weather conditions appear to be a factor in the crash and the investigation remains open to the Sheriff’s Office Crash Reconstruction Team.



SUBJECT: Serious Traffic Crash

Contact Person(s): Lt. Scott Matice 269-673-0503

On October 21 2006 at 9:15pm Allegan Co Sheriff’s deputies, along with Hamilton Fire Dept, and AMR Ambulance, responded to a traffic crash on 133rd Ave east of 48th St in Heath Twp. The crash involved a 1993 Jeep Cherokee, driven by a 18 year old Holland man. The Jeep was eastbound on 133rd Ave traveling in excess of 100mph when the driver tried to pass a 1999 GMC Yukon that was also eastbound.
An oncoming vehicle caused the driver of the Jeep to swerve back in to avoid a head on collision. The Jeep struck the GMC in the rear, forcing it off the road. The Jeep also left the road, and rolled over several times. The driver of the Jeep was not wearing a safety belt, and was ejected from the vehicle.

The driver of the Jeep was airlifted by helicopter to Spectrum Hospital with serious injuries. The passenger in the Jeep, as well as the driver of the GMC, were transported by ambulance to Holland Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The 5 yr old passenger in the GMC was in a child restraint seat, and was not injured.

Accident re-constructionists from the Allegan Co Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate the crash at the time of this release.

It does not appear that alcohol was a factor. The investigation indicated that excessive speed was a factor.

Driver of 1993 Jeep: Justin Ray Newsome, age 18, of Holland.
Passenger in Jeep: Alex Dutmar, age 17, of Hamilton.

Driver of 1999 GMC Yukon: Paul Robert Kunde, age 36, of Hamilton.
Passenger in GMC: Rylee Kunde, age 5, of Hamilton.


RELEASE DATE: 10-17-2006

SUBJECT: Fatal Accident
Contact Person(s): 269.673.0500
Lt. Frank Baker ext. 4267

Allegan County, Casco Township: Allegan County Central Dispatch received a 911 call on a personal injury accident at 6:39 am. Allegan County Sheriff Deputies arrived on scene to find a two car accident in the 400 block of Bluestar Hwy. A vehicle traveling south bound on Bluestar Hwy. lost control and crossed the center line and was stuck by a north bound vehicle. A 17 year old South Haven High School senior was the driver of the sound bound vehicle. He was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. Two South Haven residents were in the north bound vehicle and they were transported to South Haven Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. At the time of the accident it was raining out and weather may have been a factor. The accident is still under investigation by the Allegan Sheriff's Office reconstruction team.

The Sheriff's Office was assisted by South Haven City Police, South Haven Fire Dept., South Haven EMS, Michigan State Police, Allegan Co. Victim Services Unit and South Haven Public School.

Victim: Ian Taylor Davis 17 years old.

Driver: Nells Peter Swanson 60 years old
Passenger: Dorothy Elaine Swanson 63 years old


RELEASE DATE: 10 – 15 – 2006

SUBJECT: Drowning victim Recovered from Lake

CONTACT PERSON(S) Sgt. Todd Wagner 269-673-0550 ext 4456 or Saugatuck-Douglas Police Department 269-857-4339

VICTIM: Timothy L. Reed, 55 year old from Middlebury, IN.
On Saturday October 14th at 5:30pm the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office Dive – Rescue and Recovery Team was called to assist the Saugatuck-Douglas Police Department in searching the Kalamazoo Lake for a Missing 55 y.o. Indiana man who was believed to have fallen into the water and drowned.

Officers from the Saugatuck-Douglas Police Department informed divers that they were investigating a missing person complaint when the investigation led them to the docks on the north side of the lake at Coughlin Park, where the victim’s small inflatable watercraft was moored and the victim was last seen.

After conducting a search of the lake near the docks, divers located the victim in approximately 5-6 feet of water on the bottom of the lake.

The incident lies within the jurisdiction of the Saugatuck-Douglas Police and is currently still under investigation. Further information regarding this incident may be released at a later time from the Saugatuck-Douglas Police Department.


Date: October 3, 2006

9-1-1 For Seniors, For Children, For a Safer Community

Since 1991, Allegan County residents have had a safety net -- 9-1-1.

We understand that it’s not always clear when it’s appropriate to call 9-1-1, and when to call the non-emergency number for help. Here are some examples of calls that should be made to 9-1-1:

It’s the middle of the night, and you hear noises coming from your garage
Your neighbor is away on vacation, but someone has backed their truck up to their home
You see a downed power line
You smell smoke (or gas, etc.) even if you don’t know where it’s coming from
You’re babysitting and think the baby may have swallowed something

By the same token, here are some examples of calls that should not be made to 9-1-1:

For a permit to burn brush
To know what time a parade is scheduled to take place
To find out if Officer Smith is on duty
To inquire about road conditions
To ask for any phone number
To report a power outage
To report that a bat (squirrel, etc.) is in your home

For non-emergencies, you may call Allegan County Central Dispatch at 269.673.3899.

The bottom line is...When in doubt, call 911. It is important that you don't waste critical time debating whether you have an actual emergency or not, let us figure that our for you. Whether or not your call is determined to be an emergency, be assured that you will be treated respectfully by trained professionals.


Date: September 27, 2006

Contact: Lt. Scott Matice 269.673.0500, ext. 4479

Free Mini-conference for Senior Citizens

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Allegan County Senior Citizen TRIAD is pleased to invite area seniors to a free mini-conference “Safe, Sound and Secure”. The conference will be held on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon, at the First Baptist Church of Allegan, 1290 M-40 South, Allegan.

Topics to be covered are Telephone callers, Parking lot safety, and Personal safety. A free continental breakfast will be provided, and several vendors will have displays.

The Senior Citizen TRIAD is a group composed of representatives of the Sheriff’s Office, area Police Departments, and local Senior Citizens. Together this group develops and hosts informational programs for seniors, distributes safety information, and works to protect seniors from fraud. Some TRIAD seniors also serve as volunteers with local criminal justice agencies.

TRIAD was initially conceived in 1988 through a partnership of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA). The group worked to develop a partnership to promote senior safety. Nationwide more than 775 counties as well as England and Canada have implemented the TRIAD program.

Anyone wishing more information on the TRIAD program may contact Lt. Scott Matice at the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office 269.673.0500, ext. 4479.




SGT. CHRIS KUHN (269)673-0500 EXT. 4475

On 9-16-06 at approximately 2:12PM, members of the Allegan County Sheriff Department began getting information about a serious crash on 30th St. near 144th Ave. by subjects who were passing by. Central Dispatch also began receiving numerous calls regarding the same crash and that the vehicles involved were a passenger vehicle and a milk truck and that they were on fire. Deputies arrived on scene as the female driver of the passenger car was being removed from the burning vehicle by her husband who was nearby when the crash occurred. The female driver was seriously burned and her husband received serious burns while removing her from the vehicle. The couple’s 16 month old baby remained trapped in the car and was unable to be rescued prior to fire engulfing the vehicle. The driver of the milk truck was uninjured in the crash and the ensuing fire. Fire department personnel arrived and were able to extinguish the fire but not until the entire passenger car had been burned as well as the entire cab of the milk truck.

The female driver of the car and her husband were taken to Spectrum Hospital Burn Unit and their exact condition at this time is unknown.

At this point, the crash remains under investigation by the Allegan County Crash Reconstruction team but initial evidence indicates that the passenger car was slowing or stopped on the roadway waiting for a southbound vehicle to clear so that she could turn left into a driveway. The driver of the milk truck apparently did not see her in time and was unable to stop before striking the car in the rear causing extensive damage and causing the car’s gas tank to rupture which led to the gas being ignited. The child was in a car seat and the two drivers were wearing their seatbelts. Alcohol was not a factor and the truck driver may have been distracted immediately prior to the crash.

Sheriff department personnel were assisted on scene by the Allegan County Victim Services Unit, the Salem Township Fire department, the Dorr Township Fire Dept., the Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Division, Wayland EMS and the Allegan County Road Commission.

The subjects involved are as follows:

Driver of the car: JULIE MAE MCCOMISKEY 3-14-81, Burnips, MI
Deceased Passenger: TAYLEN KEITH MCCOMISKEY 5-11-05
Burnips, MI

Driver of the truck: CHRISTOPHER ER SNEDEN 7-18-86 (spelling is correct) Hudsonville, MI


Date: 9/11/2006

Contact: Lt. Scott Matice - 269.673.0500, extension 4479 or
Silent Observer 1-800-554-3633

Subject: Dredging Crew Discovers Vandalism

A local dredging crew, attempting to pump water from Upper Scott Lake in Allegan County’s Lee Township, discovered that the dredging line had been cut in half in an area that is part of the Allegan State Forest. The total damage to repair the line and in labor time lost is estimated at $1,000. A reward is being offered through Silent Observer for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the damage.


RELEASE DATE: 09-06-2006


Contact Person(s): LT FRANK BAKER 269.673.0500 ext: 4267

On 09-06-2006, deputies from the Allegan County Sheriff Dept were dispatched to the 3700 block of 126th ave, in reference to a personal injury accident. Upon arrival, Deputies discovered that a vehicle driven by a 34 year old Allegan woman was west bound on 126th avenue when the driver lost control on the gravel roadway and went off the road on the north side of 126th, striking a large tree.

A 12 year old passenger of the vehicle, later identified as the driver’s daughter, managed to get out of the vehicle and go to a nearby residence to call for help. The driver of the vehicle was flown from the scene by aero-med to Spectrum hospital. The 12 year old passenger was transported by ambulance to Holland Hospital with minor injuries.

The accident is being investigated by accident re-constructionists from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.


RELEASE DATE: 09/04/06


Contact Person(s): LT. RON JOHNSTON 673-0500 ext 4231


Two hunters who were scouting out hunting areas on state land near the “Todd Farm” by Fennville discovered what appeared to be marijuana plants. They then contacted 911 and it was confirmed by members of the Sheriff Dept. to be a significant number of marijuana plants in a secluded wooded area. Evidence in the immediate area confirmed that these were purposely planted and had been maintained by someone. The plants were removed and destroyed with the assistance of DNR conservation officers. The approximate street value of the plants was $100,000. If anyone has information regarding these plants they are encouraged to contact the sheriff department detective bureau, WEMET or silent observer.


RELEASE DATE: 08-29-2006


Contact Person(s): LT FRANK BAKER TX 269.673.0500 ext: 4267

On 08-29-2006 at approximately 4:10pm an Allegan County Sheriff’s Deputy was assisting a stranded motorist on northbound US131 near Martin with a tire change, when a semi tractor/trailer, which was also northbound, began to merge into the passing lane. In doing so the semi driver forced another northbound passenger vehicle off the roadway and into the grass median.

After crossing the median the passenger vehicle lost control and struck a southbound semi tractor/trailer igniting the semi’s exterior fuel tank. Both drivers were transported to Borgess/Pipp Hospital, in Plainwell, for minor injuries and released.

During the incident both lanes of southbound US131 were closed for approximately three hours. Assisting in the crash were troopers from the Michigan State Police, Plainwell Department of Public Safety, Michigan Department of Transportation, and the Martin Fire Department. The patience of the motorists who were inconvenienced by this incident was appreciated.


RELEASE DATE: 8-18-2006

SUBJECT: Fatal Traffic Crash

CONTACT PERSON(S) Sgt. Todd Wagner 269-673-0500 ext 4456
or Lt. Scott Matice 269-673-0500 ext 4479

Today at 1:45pm, deputies from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office along with First responders and firefighters from the Overisel Fire Department responded to a 2 car traffic crash at the intersection of 140th avenue and 43rd street.

On arrival, first responders reported a two car broadside collision with one fatality. Witnesses reported to investigating deputies that the vehicle driven by the deceased was stopped at the intersection of 140th avenue at 43rd street facing eastbound when she then pulled into the path of a southbound vehicle driven by Hamilton resident Lanora Kendall. Kendall reportedly attempted to avoid the collision however was unsuccessful and struck the deceased in the driver’s side door throwing both vehicle’s off the roadway into a corn field.

The deceased victim was identified as a Faith A. Vanhoven, 53 of St. Ignace, MI who was operating a 1986 Pontiac 4dr. The driver of the other vehicle was identified as Lanora Lee Kendall, 33 of Hamilton, MI who was operating a 2002 Jeep. Kendall was transported and hospitalized at Holland Community Hospital.

At this time the cause of the crash is under investigation by the Allegan County Fatal Accident Reconstruction Team. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor and seatbelts appeared to have been used.

Assisting with the crash was the Overisel Fire Department and AMR Ambulance.


RELEASE DATE: 8-19-2006

SUBJECT: Private Property Fatal Accident

CONTACT PERSON(S) Lt. Scott Matice 269-673-0500 ext 4456

On Saturday 8-19-06 at 3:49 pm Allegan County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the address of 2366 63rd Street in Ganges Twp. to assist EMS personnel with a subject who was pinned under an overturned farm tractor.

Deputies learned that Tracy Joellen Bower, 43 of Fennville was working outside on her smaller Massey Furguson farm tractor attempting to remove a small tree using a strap when the tractor she was operating flipped over backward, pinning her underneath. Bower was found by her son who was home at the time.

Medical First Responders from Ganges Twp. Fire Department responded to the scene along with Paramedics from AMR Ambulance. Fire Department personnel were able to secure the tractor and remove Bower, however, despite the efforts of EMS personnel she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Assisting with this incident was Medical First Responders from Ganges Twp. Fire Department as well as Paramedics from AMR Ambulance and members from the Allegan County Victim’s Services unit.


RELEASE DATE: 08-14-2006

Contact Person(s): LT SCOTT MATICE 269-673-0500 ext: 4479





Date: 8/11/2006

Contact: Bryan Harris, US. 131 Motor Sports Park, 269.672.7800 or
Sheriff Blaine Koops - 269.673.0510 or
Sgt. Bud Randall, 269.673.0500, extension 4424

Subject: Kids to Challenge Cops in a Drag Race

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office and several other municipal, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies and local fire departments are sponsoring a “Beat the Heat - A Tribute to Our Heroes” racing event this Sunday, August 13, at the U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin.

The goal is to open communications with an age group that sometimes is strained at best. According to Sheriff Blaine Koops, “Our goal is to talk to kids who typically avoid us. This is an opportunity for them to experience one on one communication with us about speed – the right and wrong way to experience it and also to share a positive message about vehicle safety with them.”

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office will be the first in the State of Michigan to implement the “Beat the Heat” program. Michigan will be the third state in the nation, following California and Arizona to implement the “Race the Cops” format.

The event will be held in conjunction with Allegan County Safety Day that is sponsored by Allegan County public safety organizations. Displays will include Fire and Police department safety programs, displays by the Army and Marines, as well as the “Jet Police Interceptor” from California.

Gates open at 10:00 a.m. The Beat the Heat event begins at 4 p.m. and will conclude with the elimination race which is scheduled at 7 p.m. The fee to race is $10.00. Admission is $5.00 for adults; 12 and under are free.

See flyer for additional information


Date: August 11, 2006

Contact: Chaplain Bill Medendorp, Forgotten Man Ministries
269.673. 0500, extension 4250

Subject: Allegan County Pastors to Tour Jail

The Forgotten Man Ministries and Sheriff Blaine Koops will host pastors from Allegan County churches for a lunch presentation on Thursday, August 24, 2006, beginning at 12:00 noon at the Griswold Auditorium, 401 Hubbard Street in Allegan. Also scheduled to be present is State Senator Patricia Birkholz.

In addition to the Sheriff’s plans for the future of the jail and Sheriff’s Office; Ron Long, the administrator of a grant to establish an employment opportunity program designed specifically for former inmates, will share his experiences. Mimi Lopez, who assists Spanish-speaking inmates in navigating the immigration system, will speak regarding the challenges she encounters in her work. Forgotten Man Ministries will discuss how a community can work together to help those with needs.

Following the presentations at the Griswold, the pastors will be given a tour of the jail similar to what is offered to youth groups from the area. The press is welcome and encouraged to attend this unique event.



Martin, MI - Illegal street racing has been a part of the American Car Culture ever since the inception of a motor being installed on a buggy. Throughout the years the activity of street racing has continued to advance in popularity with the major difference being the choice in vehicles to race. With the advent of the sports compact car scene, modern day muscle cars, and the import scene, nationally; illegal street racing continues to claim hundreds of lives and injuring thousands annually. West Michigan is no exception to this highly dangerous youth oriented, (ages 16 through 25), risk-taking activity. Technologies and media such as cell phones, websites, forums, underground publications, and movies have not only glamorized street racing but also heightened the risk for the participants, bystanders, and police.

In an effort to curtail street racing with a viable alternative, US 131 Motorsports Park developed a comprehensive program to give these street racers a safe, legal, and controlled environment in which they can satiate their thirst for speed. The first step in the program was designing a racing series developed in conjunction with street racers called the Midnight Madness Survival Series. Focusing on the necessity of community inclusion to significantly impact this behavior, the second step was to have various local, county, and state agencies become involved. Agencies such as the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office and not-for-profit associations like Beat The Heat Inc. have combined their resources and efforts with US 131 to further deter street racing.

US 131 and the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office decided that the Motorsports Park would create the best possible environment to overcome the adversarial position of street racers and the police so that they can engage in casual conversation with each other in hopes of cultivating long-standing relationships. After months of research, planning, and deliberations as to how the event would be structured with numerous local, county, and state police agencies, and street racers, it was concluded that the event would be held on August 13 from 10am-8pm and entitled Beat the Heat: A Tribute To Our Heroes. Assisting in this creation was Officer Fraijo of Legal Alternatives to Street Racing (LASR), Bob Klein Director of Operations at Irwindale Raceway, Retired Officer Kevin McKinnie and PR Manager Diana Rose of Infineon Raceway in California, and Sergeant Bud Randall of the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office and Lieutenant Brown of Beat The Heat Inc..

The primary attraction to entice the street racers to take it off the streets and onto the strip as they interact with police officers, is the opportunity to race against the officers in their actual police cruisers! Michigan will join California as only the second state in the entire country to offer racing heads-up against actual police cruisers.

In the tradition and spirit of giving back to the community, all the police officers participating in the event will be volunteering their time. US 131 Motorsports Park is providing insurance for all agencies participating and paying for all maintenance items and gas for the police cruisers. Interestingly enough, as noted by Brian Bonnell, the fleet mechanic of the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office, “Running a cruiser down a quarter-mile strip is not nearly as demanding or harsh on the vehicle’s components as the daily patrol that an officer and cruiser goes through.”

To make the event even more enticing for street racers to participate, members of Beat the Heat Inc., an association composed of active and retired police officers, will be traveling from all corners of the country to US 131 Motorsports Park with their retired police cruisers, retro-fitted into racecars, with the objective of taking racing off the street and onto the strip and deter the use of drugs and drunk driving. Also, to capture potential high-risk kids before they are enticed to participate in illegal street racing, US 131 will also be holding the High School Drags this same day.

To further promote community relations, recognize public and private agencies for all their hard work, and educate our future leaders on safe habits (Fire Safety, Alcohol, Drugs, etc.) the event is also being deemed as an Allegan County’s Safety Day with the following agencies bringing static and interactive entertainment displays: Army, Marines, Local/County/State PD, Red Cross, Local Fire Departments, HSUS, Race Against Drugs, Rescue 1, K-9 Unit, Marine Patrol and many more that are still signing up. In addition to the aforementioned entertainment, there will be numerous giveaways throughout the day. Mike “Hojo” Hojnacki, a member of both Beat The Heat Inc. and Race Against Drugs, will be performing in his 300mph+ Jet Police Interceptor, and Tim and Chris Shiels will be driving their 2000+ horsepower wheelie truck down the quarter-mile on its rear wheels!

To ensure that everyone can watch the races, interact with the different agencies, and race (all types of vehicles welcome to test and tune), US 131 has discounted ticket rates to only $5 for adults, with kids 12 and under free, and only a $10 entry fee for racers.

In keeping with the comprehensive program that is being implemented, and based on the success of LASR’s program, the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office and US 131 are in the third step of the program with the creation of an “Operation Speeding Ticket.” Operation Speeding Ticket will supply all participating police agencies with tickets redeemable for one free admission and tech card into any US 131 Test and Tune. Officers will hand these out to either high risk young adults who may consider street racing or to a person they have pulled over for a speeding/reckless driving violation. The ticket will be used as a vital tool for police agencies to interact with high risk youths in a positive manner, educate them in the dangers of streets racing, and notify of them of alternatives as the officer provides the person with a free ticket to race at the track.

By combining the efforts of the track, law enforcement agencies, street racers, and the community, we feel confident that together we can dramatically reduce the incidence of illegal street racing in Michigan while providing a safe and fun alternative, thus making the community safer and better to live in.

For more details on the event and program, media day, or free opportunities for public agencies to receive vendor space, please visit the official US 131 Motorsports Park website or call Bryan C. Harrison at the track.

Web Site:
Tel. 269.672.7800
Fax 269.672.9194

Sgt. Bud Randall
Allegan County Sheriff's Office
112 Walnut St.
Allegan, MI 49010
(269) 673-0500 ext 4424 (voice mail)


Date: 8/3/2006
Contact: Lt. Frank Baker - 269.673.0500, extension 4267
Subject: ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Saugatuck Harbor Pier Drowning Victim Named

The victim of the accidental drowning at the Saugatuck Harbor south pier on 8/1/2006 has been identified as Mario Alberto Campos-Ramos, 25, of Wyoming, Michigan.

The immediate family; residents of Mexico, have been notified and are making arrangements through a local pastor and a family friend here in Michigan to transport the deceased to Mexico for funeral arrangements.


Date: August 3, 2006
Contact: Lt. Frank Baker at 269.673.0500, ext. 4267
Subject: Allegan County Sheriff’s Office Promotes New Sergeants

Sheriff Blaine Koops introduced two new Road Patrol Sergeants to the Allegan County Board of Commissioners at their July 27 meeting. Following an extensive selection process, Mike Brown and Chris Kuhn were promoted to Sergeant, filling vacancies created by the retirement of two sergeants in May.

Sergeant Mike Brown is a graduate of East Kentwood High School and Grand Rapids Community College. He started with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office in July of 2000, and was honored as the 2005 Deputy of the Year for the Law Enforcement Division. He served as an Evidence Technician, Field Training Officer, and an Accident Investigator prior to being promoted to Sergeant.

Sergeant Chris Kuhn graduated from Western Michigan University in 1992 with a degree in Pre-Med. He then attended Grand Valley State University and graduated from its Regional Police Academy in 1995. He started with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office in 1996, working as a Domestic Violence Investigator for 2 ½ years, was assigned to Laketown Township for 3 years, and then worked general road patrol, serving as an Evidence Technician and Crash Reconstructionist until his promotion to Sergeant.

(Photos available upon request)


RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2006
SUBJECT: Additional Patrols Watch for Drunk Drivers this Weekend
Contact Person(s): Lt. Scott Matice 269.673.0503

Deputies from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office will be working overtime to keep Allegan County residents safe this weekend, thanks to a grant awarded by the State of Michigan’s Office of Highway Safety Planning. The grant You Drink & Drive. YOU LOSE. is aimed at keeping drunk drivers off Michigan’s roadways.

In addition to the increased road patrols, Allegan County’s Marine Unit will have extra patrols on duty as well. According to Sheriff Koops, “Summer weekends are frequently marred by tragedies. Through these extra patrols, we hope to help keep Allegan County safe for all who travel our roadways and waterways.”

The Mobile Breath Alcohol Testing Unit (BATmobile) will be in use as a part of these extra patrols. This specially equipped vehicle allows suspected drunk drivers to be tested out in the field, and then transported by Reserve Deputies to be lodged in the jail, freeing up Patrol Deputies to return to their duties sooner, making our roads safe for everyone. The BATmobile will be out in Plainwell from 8:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. Friday night, July 28, and in Saugatuck from 8:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. Saturday night, July 29. The media is invited to ride with the deputies if they wish. Contact Lt. Matice at the above number if interested.





A vehicle being driven southbound on I-196 near the Pullman exit by a subject out of the Chicago area was returning from Muskegon when the driver apparently fell asleep and left the roadway traveling into the grass median. The driver was able to steer the vehicle back onto the roadway but lost control again and swerved hard back into the median area where the vehicle rolled over several times. An unrestrained subject who was laying in the rear cargo area of the 2000 Jeep Cherokee was ejected from the vehicle as it was rolling and was found in the median with serious injuries. Three other occupants in the vehicle’s seats were restrained inside the vehicle by their seatbelts with the driver and rear seat passenger suffering serious injuries and the front seat passenger suffering severe injuries. All subjects were from the Chicago area.

All subjects were transported to South Haven Hospital for treatment with the subject from the cargo area and the front seat passenger being flown to Bronson Hospital from there by West Michigan Air Care. None of the injuries appeared to be life threatening. The accident remains under investigation by the sheriff department accident reconstruction team. The sheriff department was assisted on the scene by the South Haven fire department, South Haven EMS, West Michigan Air Care and MDOT.

DRIVER: Christian Brewer, male, 7-16-87

FRONT SEAT PASSENGER: Vernell Little, male, 7-30-82

REAR SEAT PASSENGER: Lester Ayers, male, 7-14-74

CARGO AREA PASSENGER: Kenneth Brewer, male 6-12-85



SUBJECT: Serious Traffic Crash

Contact Person(s): Lt. Scott Matice 269-673-0503

On July 6, 2006,at 1:00pm Allegan Co Sheriff’s deputies, along with Graafschap Fire Dept, and AMR Ambulance, responded to a traffic crash on Bluestar Hwy at 60th St in Fillmore Twp. The crash involved a 1994 Chevy 2dr, driven by a 41 year old Fennville man. The car was northbound on 60th St when the driver failed to yield for a stopsign at Bluestar Hwy. The car was struck in the passenger side by a 2006 Buick, driven by a 73 year old Fennville man

Both drivers, and the passenger in the 94 Chevy, were pinned in the vehicles and had to be extricated by firefighters.

Both drivers was treated at the scene by AMR Ambulance and transported to Holland Hospital. The passenger in the Chevy, 28 year old Eva Rene Reynolds of Pullman,was seriously injured. She was flown by helicopter to Butterworth Hospital by AiroMed.

Accident re-constructionists from the Allegan Co Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate the crash at the time of this release.

It does not appear that alcohol was a factor. All occupants were wearing safety belts.

Driver of 94 Chevy: Kelvin Jones, age 41, of Fennville.

Driver of 2006 Buick: Robert Dykstra, age 73, of Fennville.



SUBJECT: Single engine air plane mishap

Contact Person(s):

LOCATION: Plainwell Airport, Gun Plain Twp.

On July 5, 2006 Sheriff’s deputies and emergency medical personnel responded to a report of an airplane in the ditch line on the east side of US 131 just north of 106th avenue in Gun Plain Twp. When deputies arrived they found a single engine Cessna “Skylane” nose down in the ditch line of the highway. The pilot, 54 year old John Thomas of Brighton MI. said that he was attempting to land his aircraft at Plainwell Airport when he misjudged his relationship to the runway upon touched down and skidded off the end of the runway, crashed through a page wire fence before coming to rest in ditch line of North bound US 131 approximately 75 feet from the highway.

Thomas, nor his 56 year old passenger were injured.

The aircraft, a 1966 Cessna Skylane received minor damage.

The Sheriff’s Office notified the FFA which will be looking into the accident.


RELEASE DATE: 06/30/06

SUBJECT: Car Pedestrian Accident

Contact Person(s):

LOCATION: 1200 Block of Lincoln Rd. (M-89) Allegan Twp.

Victim: Connie Lou Wilson, age 41of Allegan

On June 30, 2006 at 4:26 P.M. Allegan County Deputies responded to a car pedestrian accident on Lincoln Rd (M-89) in front of the Family Dollar Store. According to witnesses Connie Wilson 41, and her sister had been attempting to cross Lincoln road from the north to the south. The two had crossed the west bound lane and stopped in the center turn lane and were waiting for east bound traffic to clear before completing their crossing. Connie apparently didn’t see an east bound min van and ran from the turn lane into its path. The driver of the van a 38 year old Allegan man was unable to avoid striking Wilson.

Wilson was transported to Allegan General Hospital and then flown to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo where at the time of this release she was in critical condition.

The driver of the van or any of his passengers was injured.

The accident remains under investigation.


SUBJECT: Serious Traffic Crash

Contact Person(s): Lt. Scott Matice 269-673-0503

On June 27, 2006,at 5:00pm Allegan Co Sheriff’s deputies, along with Gobles/Pine Grove Fire Dept, Bloomingdale Fire Dept, Allegan Twp Fire Dept, and Allegan EMS Ambulance, responded to a traffic crash on 104th Ave near Minkler Lake Dr in Trowbridge Twp. The crash involved a 1994 Mazda 4dr, driven by a 22 year old Plainwell woman. The car was westbound on 104th Ave when it crossed the centerline in a curve, striking a 1990 GMC pickup, which was eastbound, head on. The driver of the pickup was a 47 year old man from Otsego.

Both drivers were pinned in the vehicles and had to be extricated by firefighters.

The driver of the Mazda was treated at the scene by Allegan EMS, then flown by helicopter to Borgess Hospital by AiroMed. The driver of the pickup was transported to Allegan General Hospital.

Accident re-constructionists from the Allegan Co Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate the crash at the time of this release.

Driver of 94 Mazda: Laura Luepkes, age 22, of Plainwell.

Driver of 90 GMC: Leonard Bierema, age 47, of Otsego.

UPDATE REFERENCE THE CRASH: The driver of the 94 Mazda, Laura Luepkes, has succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. The other driver involved, Leonard Bierema, continues to be treated for his injuries.



SUBJECT: Serious Traffic Crash

Contact Person(s): Lt. Scott Matice 269-673-0503

On June 26, 2006,at 7:00pm Allegan Co Sheriff’s deputies, along with Gobles/Pine Grove Fire Dept, and Allegan EMS Ambulance, responded to a traffic crash on 34th St north of 110th Ave in Trowbridge Twp. The crash involved a 1994 Ford Explorer driven by a 21 year old Allegan man. The driver of the SUV was southbound on 34th St when the vehicle left the roadway and rolled over coming to rest upside down in the road. The driver, who was not wearing a safety belt, was ejected from the vehicle.

The driver was treated at the scene by Allegan EMS, then flown by helicopter to Bronson Hospital by West Michigan AirCare.

At the time of this release, he is in critical condition.

Accident re-constructionists from the Allegan Co Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate the crash at the time of this release. Speed appears to have been a factor, and he was not wearing a safety belt.

Driver of vehicle: Dustin Stevens, age 21, of Allegan.


RELEASE DATE: June 20, 2006
SUBJECT: Juvenile Escapees
Contact Person(s): 269.673.0500
Lt. Frank Baker ext. (269) 673-0500 x4267

On 06-20-06 at approximately 9:26am two 16 year old juvenile male subjects escaped from the Allegan County Youth Home by scaling the yard fence and fleeing on foot. Both subjects were apprehended within 10 minutes of their attempt at freedom and re-secured at the facility.

Assisting on the apprehension were the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department Road Patrol, Traffic Unit, K9 Team, Detective Bureau, Animal Control, Youth Home workers, and Allegan City Police Department.

Further charges are pending the completion of the investigation. Names will not be released due to the suspects’ juvenile status.


RELEASE DATE: 06/17/06

Contact Person(s): LT. FRANK BAKER
LOCATION: 4100 block of 128th Avenue Heath Twp.
Victim : Jonathan Blystra Age 33 of Holland, MI

On 6/17/06 at 4:34 P.M. Allegan County Deputies along with Hamilton Fire Rescue responded to a private property accident in the 4100 block of 128th Avenue in Heath Twp.

Jonathan Blystra and a group of friends had been running their modified four wheel drive trucks through a mud bog on the property when the truck that Blystra was driving became stuck. The group was attempting to free the vehicle with another truck when the tow strap that they had been using broke. The strap with a large metal clevis attached to the end rebounded through the windshield of Blystra’s truck striking him in the head causing massive trauma. Blystra was pronounced dead at the scene.



Contact: ACS Liaison, Marie Teitgen 269-349-0846 or 1-800-465-5244
Or Relay for Life of Allegan County Chairpersons:
Jeff Lautenschleger 269-303-5433
Or Scott Forker 269-686-9215

Students at Hopkins Public Schools send their “Hope” to Washington.

Allegan County is preparing to share their voice in the fight against cancer in the “Relay for Life Wall of Hope” which is scheduled for September 19-20, 2006 in Washington, D.C. Local sponsors Allegan General Hospital and the Allegan County Law Enforcement Association sponsored the banner, which is traveling throughout Allegan County this summer, collecting messages of hope.

In September, the Wall of Hope will be constructed of 5,000 banners from around the country filled with millions of messages from those who have battled cancer and those who are hoping for a cure. The wall will span four city blocks on the National Mall and will be the focal point of “Celebration on the Hill 2006” on September 19th and 20th in Washington, D.C. For more information on the event, go to

Be a part of the Wall of Hope! Attend the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Allegan County on August 4th and 5th, 2006 at the Allegan County Fairgrounds and sign the banner to send your message to Washington. To learn more about the Allegan County Relay for Life, visit

For cancer information, call 1.800.ACS.2345 or visit
(A photo of Hopkins Public Schools students signing the banner follows.)


RELEASE DATE: June 8, 2006
SUBJECT: Summer Scam Alert
Contact Person(s): Detective Len Mathis 269.673.0500 ext. 4422

Area citizens should be aware that as summer approaches, home improvement “scammers” will begin preying on our elderly citizens. The southwest Michigan area will be inundated with groups of “Travellers” from the southern states offering discount home improvement schemes such as driveway paving, barn painting and driveway sealing.

In these schemes, citizens are defrauded out of money for substandard work which is performed using inferior materials. “Travellers” offer what seem to be discounted prices, but provide no written contracts or estimates, and claim to be working in the area, causing them to have materials ready to be used immediately. These subjects may claim to have done work for neighbors, but are unable to substantiate those claims. Senior citizens and other persons who are home during the day are especially likely to encounter these subjects.

According to Allegan County Sheriff Blaine Koops, “Residents who are contacted for home repair work should ask for estimates in writing, ask for a 24 hour grace period in order to contact local businesses for competing estimates, and should contact local law enforcement as soon as possible if they have suspicions or feel they’re being pressured to make instant decisions.”

Residents and visitors to Allegan County are reminded that non-emergency requests for law enforcement services throughout Allegan County are handled through Allegan County Central Dispatch 269.673.3899. For all police, fire or medical emergencies, call 9-1-1.



SUBJECT: Personal Injury Accident

Contact Person(s): LT. FRANK BAKER

LOCATION: M-222 and 16th St Watson Twp

On June 4th at 4:11 P.M. Deputies from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office responded to a personal injury accident at the intersection of M-222 and 16th St in Watson twp. According to witnesses a 1992 Chevy Cavalier driven by 39 year old Curtis Kent of Otesgo had been stopped at the stop sign on 16th St. and was attempting to go South thru the intersection when he failed to yield the right of way to a 2000 Ford Explorer that was west bound on M-222 driven by 53 year old John Smiley of Martin. Kent had to be extricated from his vehicle by Martin Fire Dept. and was flown from the scene to Bronson hospital in Kalamazoo by West Michigan Air Care. Smiley who was belted at the time of the accident was uninjured.

The accident remains under investigation, but alcohol is believed to have been a factor.



Date: 5/30/2006

Contacts: 269-673-0500
Undersheriff Jim Hull, ext. 4220
Lt. Frank Baker, ext. 4267
Detective Pat O'Reilly, ext. 4263

Subject: UPDATE: Trowbridge Township Shooting Suspect Arraigned

The suspect in Monday's shooting incident in Trowbridge Township was arraigned in Allegan County District Court this afternoon. Jeffrey Lynn Evink, 12/14/1955, was arraigned on charges of Assault with Intent to Murder and Felony Firearms. He remains lodged in the Allegan County Jail.
(A mugshot is available upon request.)



Date: 5/30/2006

Contact: Lt. Frank Baker, 269-673-0500, ext. 4267
or Detective Pat O’Reilly, 269-673-0500, ext. 4263

Subject: Trowbridge Township Shooting Incident

On Monday, May 29, 2006, the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office and Allegan Police Department responded to a shooting incident. A 50 year old Trowbridge Township woman was transported to Allegan General Hospital after allegedly being shot by a 50 year old neighbor.

The victim, Regina Ann Burroughs, was later transported to Bronson Hospital. Her condition is unknown.

Allegan County SWAT Team hostage negotiators were activated after the suspect retreated to his residence and refused to surrender to police.

After several hours of attempting to contact the suspect by various means, tear gas was introduced into the residence, which resulted in the suspect surrendering to authorities.

The 50 year old Trowbridge Township man was taken into custody without incident and lodged in the Allegan County Jail on one count of Assault with Intent to Murder, and one count of Felony Firearms. The suspect will be arraigned this afternoon in Allegan County 57th District Court.

(A mug shot of the suspect will be available following the arraignment.)



Date: 5/30/2006

Contact: Allegan County Sheriff’s Office at 269-673-0500
Detective Chris Koster (extension 4230)
or Detective Chris Haverdink (extension 4452) or Silent Observer at 1-800-554-3633

Subject: Armed Robbery of M-89 Shell

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office responded early this morning to a report of an armed robbery at the M-89 Shell located at Blue Star Highway and M-89. Two suspects entered the business, the first brandishing a snub-nosed revolver. A purse was stolen from a customer in the store at the time of the robbery, as well as cash and other items from the store. The suspects then fled the premises in an undetermined direction. No suspect vehicle information is available.

The first suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 5’6” to 5’7”, with a heavy build and wearing grey hooded sweatshirt with “Michigan” on it.

The second suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 5’4” to 5’5”, with a thinner build and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office or Silent Observer.


SUBJECT: Fatal Traffic Crash
Contact Person(s): Lt. Scott Matice 269-673-0503

On May 11, 2006 at 5:50pm Allegan Co Sheriff’s deputies, along with Clyde Twp Fire Dept, and AMR Ambulance -Fennville, responded to a traffic crash on 118th Ave near 52nd St in Clyde Twp. The crash involved a 2004 Chevy Pickup. The driver of the pickup was eastbound on 118th Ave when large piece of tree branch was blown down by high winds. The branch landed on the driver side of the roof, killing the driver. The passenger in the truck was injured, and was transported to Allegan General Hospital for treatment.

Accident re-constructionists from the Allegan Co Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate the crash at the time of this release. Both occupants were wearing safety belts.

Driver: John Ferguson Root, 45 yr old male from Whitehall.

Passenger: Kristina Williams, 44 yr old female from Grand Rapids.


Date:       5/1/2006

Contact: Detective Chris Koster, 269-673-0500,
extension 4230 or Silent Observer at
Subject:    Armed Robbery of Side Door Convenience Store

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of an armed robbery at the Side Door Convenience Store on M-40 outside of Allegan on Saturday evening, April 29, 2006.  A single suspect entered the business and ordered two clerks to empty the cash registers at gunpoint.  The subject then ordered the clerks and a juvenile subject into the back room and left the premises.

The suspect is described as a black male, 5’6” to 5’8” in height, with a medium build.  The suspect has a short, loose afro hairstyle, and was clean shaven.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office or Silent Observer.


Allegan County Sheriff’s Office
Date:   April 24, 2006
Contact:   Allegan County Sheriff’s Office, Det. Chris Haverdink 269.673.0500, ext. 4452

Victim Services Unit Benefit Breakfast and Bake Sale

The Allegan County Victim Services Unit is holding a benefit breakfast and bake sale on Saturday, May 6, 2006 from 7 to 11 a.m. at the Wayland Fire Station, 160 W. Superior St., Wayland.  The cost for the breakfast is $6 per adult, $3 for seniors or children 5-12.  Children under 5 years of age are free.

The breakfast includes an all you can eat buffet of pancakes, eggs, sausage, potatoes, milk, juice and coffee, and will be served by volunteers from the Victim Services Unit.  Baked goods will also be for sale at the event.

The Victim Services Unit is a team of trained volunteers who are on call 24 hours a day, and come to the aid of victims and families of victims of serious crimes, traffic accidents, suicides and other tragedies, becoming a support mechanism in the period immediately following the event.  This unit not only assists the victims, but also frees up law enforcement personnel to continue with the investigation or return to other duties.  More information on the unit and the volunteers involved will be available at the breakfast.  The public is invited come and meet the people in their community who volunteer their services for this worthwhile organization.


RELEASE DATE:  April 21, 2006  
SUBJECT:  Boater’s Safety Courses
Contact Person(s):  Sgt. Cory Hunt (269) 673-0500 ext. 4463 

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting two Boater Safety Classes which are open to the public. The classes will be held at the Allegan County Human Services Building which is located at 3255 122nd Avenue in Allegan. The classes will be held on Saturday, May 20th and Saturday, June 17th. Each class will run from 8:00 am until 2:00 pm. You need only to attend one class to receive your Boater’s Safety Certificate. You will need to bring a pencil and a sack lunch. The class and all materials are free. Boater’s Safety Certificates are required for persons 12-15 years of age who wish to operate a motorboat in Michigan. A Boater’s Safety Certificate is also required for anyone born after December 31, 1978 to operate a personal watercraft. A Certificate is also required of any adult who will be supervising a child age 12 or 13 in the operation of a personal watercraft.  Adults are encouraged to attend with their children. Each class will be limited to 40 students. Pre-registration is required. To register, please call Kari at (269) 673-0500 x4234.


Date:   April 17, 2006
Contact:   Lt. Frank Baker, 269.673.0500, ext. 4267

A 28 year old South Haven man died Sunday when his 1996 Chevy pickup truck left the roadway and struck several trees.

According to witnesses, Jason Raczynski was southbound at a high rate of speed on Beeline Rd. just north of 138th Ave. in Laketown Twp. when he failed to negotiate a curve.  His truck left the roadway and struck several trees which resulted in the driver being ejected from the vehicle.  Preliminary investigation indicates that alcohol, speed and lack of seatbelt use were all factors in Raczynski’s death.

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by Graafschap Fire Rescue, AMR Ambulance and Aero Med.  The accident remains under investigation.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   

CONTACT: Emelda Calanchi-Pope, Victim/Witness Coordinator
Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office


Allegan, Michigan – During the week of April 23rd to 29th, 2006, crime victims and survivors and those who serve them will join together across America to promote victims’ rights and services, and to educate our communities about the devastating impact of crime on victims, neighborhoods, schools and our nation as a whole.  The theme of 2006 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week – “Victims’ Rights: Strength in Unity” – pays tribute to crime victims and survivors who, for many decades, have joined together in mutual support and advocacy to promote victims’ rights and services.  It also recognizes the ongoing efforts of countless victim service providers, justice professionals, and allied professionals and volunteers who selflessly dedicate their lives to helping victims of crime. 

For decades, crime victims and those who serve them have joined forces to ensure that all victims are aware of their rights, and have access to the many community- and justice system-based services that can help them in the aftermath of crime.  There are many programs in our community that provide victims with crisis intervention, counseling, support, safety planning, and advocacy throughout criminal and juvenile justice processes; and the Michigan Crime Victim Services Commission victim compensation program helps victims recover from the many costs associated with criminal victimization

The Office for the Victims of Crime will be “kicking off” 2006 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in  Washington, D.C. with its 4th annual National Candlelight Observance on Thursday, April 20th, and its Awards Ceremony on Friday, April 21st.  The State of Michigan will have the Annual Awareness and Recognition Program on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 6:00 p.m., First Floor Rotunda of the State Capitol Building, Lansing, Michigan.  This year's keynote address will be delivered by Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert P. Young, Jr.  Both events are open to the public.

Here in Allegan County, there is an annual Recognition Ceremony to commemorate 2006 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.  This year it will be held at the Griswold Auditorium in Allegan on Thursday, April 27 at 1:00 p.m.  The public is invited to attend.  Allegan County also conducts an extensive public awareness campaign.  One part of the campaign is an Essay Contest for students in grades 9 thru 12, and the award winning essay will be read at the Recognition Ceremony.  Entry forms are available at Allegan County High Schools or the Prosecutor’s office.   Essay entries will be received at the Prosecutor’s office up until 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, 2006.

For additional information about 2006 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Allegan County, the essay contest or crime victim assistance, please contact Emelda Calanchi-Pope, Victim/Witness Coordinator at the Allegan County Prosecuting Attorney’s office at 269 673-0280.

For information about national resources available to help crime victims, please visit the Web Site developed by the Office for Victims of Crime at



March 29, 2006 11:58 AM
Outgoing To: All Media Outlets
From: Allegan County Emergency Operation Center

Reports from the incident command center in the City of the Village of Douglas confirm that the fire resulting from a natural gas explosion at approximately 9:45 am has been contained and fire crews will continue to monitor the scene.

The incident began when the driver of an automobile overshot the curb and struck a gas meter at an apartment building at 32 E. Center Avenue resulting in an immediate natural gas leak. An eyewitness on the scene began immediately to evacuate the buildings when seconds later an explosion and ensuing fire occurred.

Fire, EMS, and Law Enforcement Services were mobilized, the emergency operations center was opened and officials began to immediately respond to the incident. Consumers Power responded quickly and shut down the flow of natural gas to the area which enabled fire crews to quickly contain the blaze.

An investigation into the matter is underway to determine if any criminal charges are in order.

Contact: Michael Lombardo, Public Information officer 269-686-5257



March 29, 2006 10:48 AM
Outgoing To: All Media Outlets
From: Allegan County Emergency Operation Center

At 10:49 am Fire and Emergency Response crews reported that the fire resulting from a natural gas explosion has been extinguished and “mop up” operations are under way.

No reported injuries.

Preliminary reports are that four (4) housing units were affected by the explosion and subsequent blaze. Representatives from the American Red Cross are assessing the extent to which families will be displaced and in need of sheltering.

Contact: Michael Lombardo, Public Information officer




March 29, 2006 10:26 AM
Outgoing – Immediate Release
To: All Media Outlets

From: Allegan County Emergency Operation Center
At 10:30 am Fire Services reported that earlier reports of a construction accident were inaccurate. A single vehicle auto accident occurred where passenger car struck a building at 32 Center Street In Douglas.

The fire is currently under control though crews are unable to enter the structure due to heavy smoke and hot spots.

A two block radius in the vicinity of Center and Washington Street has been evacuated.

Contact: Michael Lombardo, Public Information officer 269-686-5257



March 29, 2006 10:12 AM
Outgoing To: All Media Outlets
From: Allegan County Emergency Operation Center

At 9:27 am, Allegan Central Dispatch received reports of a natural gas leak at a two unit apartment complex at 32 Center Street in the City of the Village of Douglas. Reports were that a construction crew struck a gas line and an audible hissing was present. While the call was in progress, an explosion occurred

The fire is fully involved and fire and EMS from Graafschap, Holland, Fennville, Ganges, and Saugatuck are on the scene trying to contain the blaze.

There are no reported injuries at this time.

The public are asked to please avoid this area at this time.

Contact: Michael Lombardo, Public Information officer 269-686-5257


RELEASE DATE:  March 27, 2006

SUBJECT:  Sheriff Koops Announces Staff Awards
Contact Person(s):  Sheriff Blaine Koops, 269.673.0500, ext. 4223 or                                              Undersheriff Jim Hull, ext. 4220

Sheriff Blaine Koops is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the “Officio Nostro Serviens” (loosely translated - serving our mission) award at the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office.  This award is presented annually to a staff member from each division of the Sheriff’s Office who best serves the agency’s mission: 

“The mission of the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office is to provide a full spectrum of corrections, law enforcement, and court services so that our community continues to grow and progress as a safe and secure place to live, work, and visit.”

The recipients for 2005 are:
Services Division – Deputy Dick Brooks
Law Enforcement Division – Deputy Michael Brown
Investigative Services Division – Detective Patrick O’Reilly
Corrections Division – Deputy James Miller

In addition to the above award recipients, the 2005 ALLCOPS Award for Excellence in Community Policing was presented to Deputy Kevin Haan.Sheriff Koops proudly announced the award recipients, stating, “The professionalism, dedication, and teamwork displayed by these officers are a credit to our department.” 



Date: March 14, 2006

Contact: Sheriff Blaine Koops 269.673.0500, ext. 4223
Lt. Frank Baker, ext. 4267, or Deputy Scott Johanson, ext. 4356

The true meaning of “good neighbors” was recently brought to light in Overisel Township in rural Allegan County, when Deputy Scott Johanson was dispatched to a report of loose cows in the roadway. Anyone who’s ever been involved in a car/deer crash can imagine the seriousness of that same crash if it involved a cow.

Fennville resident Kevin Brower came across the cows while driving one recent morning at approximately 2:00 a.m. Mr. Brower knocked on the door of a nearby residence, but was unable to determine who the cows belonged to. Mr. Brower was then joined by Deputy Johanson and continued going house to house, unsuccessfully looking for the cows’ owners, when they instead found several good neighbors who were willing to help round up cows at 2 a.m.

One of the neighbors recognized the cows as belonging to the farm of Dale & Elaine Flokstra, who were away on vacation. With some on foot, and Deputy Johanson in a patrol car, they worked together to round up the cows who had wandered over a mile from home, and herded them back into the barn at the Flokstra farm.

Sheriff Koops and Deputy Johanson presented the “good neighbors” including Don Graveling, Dale Rysenga, David Gerrits and Kevin Brower with certificates of appreciation and treated them to donuts on a recent visit to Dykhuis Farms, where several of the men work. Sheriff Koops stated “The willingness of these men to come out and assist Deputy Johanson in the middle of the night is very deserving of our thanks and admiration. Allegan County is fortunate to have such good neighbors.”

(Photos are available on request.)




SUBJECT: Martin Schools Vandals Apprehended

Contact Person(s): Detective Patrick O’Reilly 269-673-0520 ext 4263
or Lt. Frank Baker 269-673-0500 ext 4267

On Sunday, March 5, 2006 at 10:15 am, deputies from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Martin Public School building for a reported break-in.
During their investigation, deputies discovered that vandals had broken into the school through a window allowing access into the entire school building. While inside, the suspects had vandalized the entire interior of the school including the principals offices, classrooms, and other areas while causing property damage in excess of over $10,000.00. They also had taken small amount of cash and other items.
Through their investigation, deputies were able to collect evidence from the scene and interview helpful witnesses residing in the area which led to the identity of three (3) suspects. Further follow-up allowed deputies to locate, identify and take all three individuals into custody.
Of the suspects, one is identified as a 17 year old male from the Orangeville who was lodged in the Allegan County Jail. The others were identified as two juveniles, 16 and 15 year old males, both of whom are from the Martin area. Both juveniles were lodged in the Allegan Juvenile Detention facility. Two out of the three had attended school where the incident occurred. The names of all three are being withheld pending arraignment in District and Family Courts.
The schools affected by the break-in include Martin Elementary, Martin Jr. High and Martin High Schools.



Date: March 3, 2006

Contacts: Sheriff Blaine Koops Jim Commissaris
Allegan County Sheriff’s Office Allegan County Sheriff’s Mounted Division
(269) 673-0510 (269) 673-7229


The Allegan County Sheriff’s Mounted Division has received an Allegan County Community Foundation grant of $5000. In June 2005, the Foundation awarded the one to one challenge grant to the Mounted Division. Because it was a matching grant, the Mounted Division needed to raise $5000 in order to receive the full amount from the Foundation. The fund-raising was completed in January, and the Foundation presented the Mounted Division with a check on February 22. The funds will be used to purchase 800 megahertz radios, which are the new radios used by law enforcement throughout Allegan County.

The Allegan County Sheriff’s Mounted Division is a group of volunteers who serve under the Sheriff. Since it’s creation over 30 years ago, members of this group have contributed thousands of hours to the community. From providing security at events like the Allegan County Fair, to corralling loose livestock and patrolling at towns throughout the county, the primary purpose of the Mounted Division is to assist the Sheriff in keeping Allegan County safe. The secondary purpose is to provide public relations on behalf of the Sheriff, allowing the community to see the friendly, approachable side of the law.

Today, there are 20 members who are trained in many aspects of law enforcement including search and rescue, nuclear decontamination, and use of force, plus all members are skilled horsemen. To maintain their skills, they are mandated to attend a 14 week training academy every 2 to 3 years. Because this is a volunteer, non-profit organization, they rely on support through donations. In addition, every member purchases his own uniform, firearm, horse, saddle and trailer. The initial investment can be several thousand dollars, and no reimbursement is available or offered.

With the help of the Allegan County Community Foundation, the Mounted Division is able to purchase six radios. However, with 20 members, there is still a need for more radios, which cost over $2000 each, and there is always a need for safety equipment for the members and their horses. For this reason, the Mounted Division is asking for the support of the community. A contribution of any amount is greatly appreciated and can be sent to Jim Commissaris, 1049 Lincoln Road, Allegan MI 49010.

Attached photo: Sheriff Blaine Koops, Allegan County Community Foundation Executive Director Theresa Bray, Mounted Division members Jamie Commissaris and Jim Commissaris.

Click here for photo





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