Keeping Lowell Safe: Police Beat for October 2018

Halloween was a calm holiday for the Lowell Police Department, but officers had enough other cases keeping them busy in October. Overall, the department had 178 calls to handle during the month. Those included the following:

  • Miscellaneous drug offenses: 5
  • Drunk driving: 5
  • Assist for medical calls: 7
  • Assist other agencies: 10
  • Ordinance violations: 2
  • Accidents: 18

Keep reading for a peek behind the numbers at some of the notable cases.

Suspected Breaking and Entering

Lowell police officers assisted the Kent County Sheriff’s Department on a call of suspected breaking and entering in the Key Heights mobile home park. A woman thought someone was trying to enter her home, but police did not find anyone suspicious or any evidence in the area.

Stolen Goods Sold to Local Store

Two subjects sold some stolen jewelry to a downtown store. They had already been charged with a similar crime, and when the additional goods were discovered, they were added on to the amount of required restitution.

Drunk in the Drive Thru

Police were called to a local restaurant on suspicion of a drunk driver in the drive thru lane. The Lowell resident ended up not only being drunk but also high.

The person was put through a field sobriety test but “did not do well at all,” according to police. The individual’s blood alcohol level was 0.2, making this a high BAC offense. Anything above a 0.08 BAC is considered drunk driving in Michigan.

What’s more, there were 3.69 grams of marijuana, an open tequila bottle and a bag of synthetic urine in the vehicle. The latter is apparently something used by people to pass drug tests. The person was arrested, and the prosecuting attorney’s office has authorized charges.

Speaking of Marijuana…

Now that Proposal 1 has been passed by voters, the recreational use of marijuana will become legal under Michigan law. Once the vote has been certified and rules put into place, people age 21 and older will be able to legally buy and use marijuana. However, employers can still require drug tests and maintain drug-free workplace policies.

Chief Steve Bukala reminds people that marijuana will only be legal for private use. That means you can’t smoke, vape or use marijuana edibles in public places. What’s more, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Don’t put yourself or others at risk by getting behind the wheel while impaired.

Movie Night Gone Wrong

A local resident was in a single vehicle accident at Family Video. The car’s brakes apparently malfunctioned, and the vehicle ran into the building. The person was cited for careless driving since they admitted to knowing there was a problem with the brake lines.

Drug House Bust

You may have seen this one posted on the Lowell Police Department’s Facebook page last month. There was a tip of an overdose at a home owned by a parolee. When the police searched the house, they found a significant amount of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Two subjects were arrested, and one has been charged with maintaining a drug house and possession of analogues (i.e. prescription drugs for which someone does not have a prescription).

Assault Caught on Camera

Two females pulled into the Admiral gas station and had an altercation. One girl was unhappy that the other girl was dating her cousin. She said was going to burn some property that belonged to the other person. When the girl whose property was being threatened began using her phone to record the conversation, she was punched by the person she was recording. That person was charged with assault and battery.

Battle at Backwater

Police received reports of a reckless driver on Hudson Street. A witness said the driver was doing burnouts and then proceeded down the road at a high rate of speed. The electronic speed sign on Hudson clocked a vehicle going 69 miles per hour in the 25 mph zone.

The driver stopped at Backwater Café on Riverside Dr. where he began ripping the ceiling down inside the restaurant. The associate pastor of a local church as well as the business owner tried to calm the individual until police arrived to make an arrest for malicious destruction.
Police did not indicate that drugs or alcohol were a factor and said the subject has not provided any information to explain his actions.

Retail Fraud with Baby Onboard

In another case widely publicized on Facebook, the police responded to an attempt of retail fraud at a local store. A women with a toddler and newborn tried to take diapers from the store without paying. When confronted by a clerk, she abandoned the diapers and fled the scene.

After the incident was publicized on Facebook, the woman turned herself in to police. She explained that she did not have money for diapers, and her son’s sensitive skin meant she needed a brand not available at the local pregnancy center.

Since she has no prior arrests and has cooperated with police, her case is being handled under a diversion program that will allow her to keep her record clean so long as she doesn’t get in trouble with the law again.

Drunk and Heading to a Bar

A report came through that a vehicle was headed toward town at a high rate of speed. Police intercepted and stopped the vehicle, which was also swerving. The driver said he had been at a bar in Cascade and was on his way to another drinking establishment. He never made it. With a BAC of 0.18, he was arrested for a first offense of operating while intoxicated.

Elderly Scammed Out of Money

An elderly man made a walk-in complaint to the Lowell Police Department that he had been scammed out of $65,000. He had been ill, and during that time, his wife had been receiving phone calls about possible grant money the couple could receive. In order to get the grant money, the woman was instructed to wire cash to Africa. Lowell Police handed the case over to the FBI, but they are not confident the couple will get their money back.

As a reminder, be wary of anyone calling, emailing or mailing offers that sound too good to be true. Many scammers insist they need money to process or facilitate the payout of a large grant or award. However, any request to wire money or buy gift cards for payment should be a red flag. Likewise, the IRS won’t call you to demand payment over the phone, and the government does not accept gift cards as a valid form of payment. However, these are common tactics used by scammers.

If you’re not sure about the legitimacy of an offer, you can always contact the Lowell Police Department for their professional opinion.

Driver Who May or May Not Have Been on Cell Phone

The Kent County Sherriff’s Office took a call about a driver crossing the center line while driving near 14 Mile Rd. The person making the call was concerned that the driver may have been under the influence and appeared to be holding their cell phone by the steering wheel while driving.

The car was traveling south, and the Lowell Police Department was asked to intercept the driver. It was around midnight when a Lowell officer pulled over the vehicle outside the city limits. The driver insisted she had not been looking at her phone and was on her way to work. The case was turned over to the Sherriff’s Office for further review.

Car vs. Utility Pole

A silver Toyota Camry struck a utility pole and then drove off without reporting the damage. However, a witness was able to record the plate number. When police visited the house where the car was registered, a woman said only her brother was supposed to be driving the car. The brother had, in fact, been driving the car. However, he also had a suspended license.

The driver was cited for driving on a suspended license and failure to stop and identify at a property damage accident.

Drunk Driver Causes Crash

At about 3am on an October evening, a drunk driver ran the stop sign at Lincoln Lake and Foreman and t-boned another vehicle. The driver said she was coming from a friend’s house, and her BAC was 0.09. She was arrested for a first offense of driving while intoxicated. No one was apparently injured in the accident, but a stop sign did not survive the incident.

Drug Arrest at Gas Station

Lowell police were called to do a welfare check of a woman who was passed out in a Chevy Cobalt at a local gas station. The officer had difficulty waking the woman, but she was eventually revived. Police found multiple pills on her which she said were for anxiety. She eventually admitted they methamphetamine pills, and she has been charged for possession of the drug.

Road Rage Doesn’t Pay

A driver apparently thought a car was following too closely behind him and brake checked the vehicle. That is, he slammed on his brakes. The following car did not stop in time and rear-ended the vehicle in front of it. The driver of the hit car was apparently upset, put his vehicle in reverse and rammed the car behind him.

Later, the driver would say he hadn’t performed a brake check but instead was trying avoid hitting a dog. However, no one else reported seeing a dog. Regardless, he caused $1,850.22 worth of damage to the vehicle he reversed into, and he was charged with malicious destruction of property.

Suspicious Activity at the Fairgrounds

Police responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle at the fairgrounds. When the driver rolled down his window to talk to the officer, the odor of marijuana and a haze wafted out of the vehicle. The driver denied using marijuana and said it was his girlfriend’s. She was sitting in the passenger seat.

A scale, wrapping paper and 13 grams of marijuana were found in the car. Since the girlfriend admitted they were hers, she was charged with possession.

Speeding Drunk Driver

Police pulled over a vehicle traveling 41 mph in a 25 mph zone. Upon approaching the driver, the officer noticed the odor of an intoxicating beverage from inside the car. During a field sobriety test, the driver claimed to have balance issues. However, her BAC was 0.1 so she was arrested for operating while intoxicated.

Drunk Driving Hit and Run

The police were called to the scene of an accident in which a truck hit a parked vehicle. When the officer arrived, he found a Silverado with its lights on and fluid leaking from the front. Its airbags were deployed, but the vehicle was empty.

A neighbor who heard the accident and came out to investigate provided a description of a man walking away from the scene. The officer was able to find the man who said he’d had “not a whole lot” to drink that night. However, his BAC was 0.14, and he was lodged at the jail for operating while intoxicated.

Drugs in the Workplace

A local business called police concerned that one of its employees was under the influence of drugs. The man had been bumping into things and was referred to the company’s drug specialist for evaluation. The specialist discovered what appeared to be drug paraphernalia.

An officer later found marijuana, methamphetamine and Norco pills in the person’s possession. The employee admitted to using meth prior to coming to work. He was arrested and charged.

Deer are Running

It’s that time of year when Bambi and friends are romping through the forest and over the asphalt with apparently no appreciation for how hard it is for you to stop your 3,000 pound car at a moment’s notice.

If a deer does wander into the road in front of you, brake but don’t swerve. Hitting the deer is not ideal, but it’s better than running into another vehicle or losing control and leaving the roadway. If you hit the deer, move your vehicle to the side of the road and feel bad for a minute. Then, report the accident to the local police agency.

Chief Bukala says some counties will have you fill out an online report once you get home, but other departments may send an officer to take a report. Either way, you’re going to want to have a police record of the crash if you plan to file an insurance claim for the damage.

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