While residents of Lowell were raking leaves and carving pumpkins, officers with the Lowell Police Department were busy tracking down criminals and removing drunk drivers from the streets. Here’s the police stats for September and October 2019 along with some case highlights.
In September 2019, the police department received 194 calls for service. These included the following, among others:
- 29 arrests
- 20 calls for assistance to other agencies
- 10 traffic accidents
- 8 ordinance violations
- 3 drunk driving cases
- 1 drug law violation
In October 2019, there were 192 calls for service, including the following:
- 27 calls for assistance to other agencies
- 22 arrests
- 3 drunk/drugged driving cases
- 1 drug related arrest
While reviewing these numbers, Police Chief Steve Bukala noted that marijuana cases, such as those involving minors in possession, are no longer criminal cases. They are now civil infractions and handled in a similar manner to traffic tickets. Because of the change in classification, the numbers above may not reflect enforcement action taken in these cases.
Suspicious Behavior Leads to Drug Arrest
A clerk at a local discount store called police after witnessing strange and suspicious behavior from a customer. When the officer arrived, he recognized the individual from prior calls related to drug use. The person was patted down and found to be in possession of a pipe and what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine. He was lodged in jail for an outstanding warrant and ultimately charged with use of methamphetamine.
Drinking But Not Drunk Driving
An officer pulled over a vehicle with an expired license plate. Upon making contact with the driver, he noticed an odor of intoxicants coming from the vehicle. It was determined the driver had been drinking but was not intoxicated. However, he was charged with driving on a suspended license, having improper plates and an unregistered vehicle.
Intoxicated Male Disappears, Drunk Driver Found
The Lowell Police Department received a call to assist the Kent County Sherriff’s Office. There had been a report of an intoxicated male in a township parking lot, but when the police arrived, they could not locate him.
Later that same evening, a Lowell officer stopped a car for driving without its headlights on. The driver had an odor of intoxicants, and his roadside blood alcohol content was 0.13. A BAC at or above 0.08 is consider operating while intoxicated. The driver was lodged in the jail and charged with OWI, first offense.
Passing the Police
Using the center lane of W. Main Street to pass a police car is one way to get the attention of an officer. After the vehicle passed the police car, the officer followed it to E. Main Street where it made an abrupt stop into a parking spot. It ended up the driver did not have a license, his license plate was defective and his blood alcohol content was 0.20. He was arrested for OWI, high BAC.
Racing on Main Street
An officer on patrol at 7:15pm observed two cars on W. Main Street that appeared to be racing. They were driving fast and passing one another. The officer pursued them and was able to pull over one vehicle on S. Hudson. The other vehicle did not stop and was not apprehended. The driver of the stopped vehicle insisted he didn’t know the driver of the other car but did admit to racing. He was charged with reckless driving.
Couple Arrested on Multiple Warrants
An officer monitoring traffic at the corner of Alden Nash Ave. and Bowes Rd. saw a couple exiting Walgreens. The Lowell Police Department has had several interactions with this couple in recent months, and the officer knew warrants had been issued for each one. He stopped the couple, and they were subsequently lodged in jail for the warrants, which were issued by other agencies. The male half of the couple had three outstanding warrants while the female half of the couple had two warrants.
Confrontational Man Sent to Hospital
The Lowell Police Department responded to a call to assist with a man acting out-of-the-ordinary. He had been wearing the same clothes for an extended period of time, urinated on himself and defecated in a hallway. When the officer arrived, the man was confrontational and could not answer questions. His behavior suggested he may have been under the influence of some substance. He was transported to the hospital for evaluation.
A vehicle was pulled over for driving erratically. When the officer approached the vehicle, the driver was fidgety and nervous. The officer making the stop is ARIDE certified and recognized these as symptoms of impairment because of drug use. ARIDE stands for Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement and is a program that trains officers to recognize and apprehend drivers operating under the influence of drugs.
A field sobriety test was performed and later a sample of blood taken for testing. It was determined the driver had been under the influence of marijuana and amphetamines. He was charged with an OWID – operating while intoxicated with drugs. This charge carries the same penalties as drunk driving.
Can’t Carry a Gun While Intoxicated
Lowell Police officers were advised to be on the lookout for a silver truck at Tractor Supply Co. A male and female were observed drinking at they left the parking lot.
An officer located and pulled over the vehicle and discovered the driver had both an open container of alcohol and a gun in the truck. Presumably to influence the officer positively, the driver tried to indicate he too was part of the law enforcement community (he was not).
His blood alcohol content was 0.20, and he was charged with OWI-high BAC, open alcohol in a vehicle and carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence of alcohol. The female in the truck was cited for having open intoxicants in a motor vehicle.
Arby’s Run Turns into Drunk Driving Charge
An officer noticed a vehicle pull out of Arby’s and then proceed very slowly down the street. Eventually, the vehicle stopped completely in the left turn lane for no apparent reason. The officer investigated and found the driver had a suspended license. The driver’s blood alcohol count was 0.16, and he was charged with an OWI, having open alcohol in the vehicle and driving on a suspended license.
Borrowed Car Turns into Impounded Vehicle
A man was stopped for a traffic violation. He was driving a vehicle borrowed from a friend. The driver had a suspended license so the vehicle was impounded and the driver lodged in jail. No word on how the friendship fared.
Motorcycle vs. Deer
The Kent County Sheriff’s Office called in an assist for a collision involving a motorcycle and deer on Vergennes St. A deer had run into the path of a motorcycle, and the bike slid into the ditch. Lowell Police found the motorcyclist uninjured and the deer dead.
Scary Parenting Decision on Halloween Night
A Lowell police officer was dispatched to a residence to check on two young children, ages 4 and 6, who had reportedly been left alone. When the officer arrived, the children were still in their Halloween costumes and still by themselves. Child Protective Services was called.
While waiting for the CPS worker to arrive, two females arrived at the home. One was apparently the mother and the other was the mother’s sister. The sister said it had been her understanding the children were asleep which is why they were left behind. The children were alone for time it took to drive to Grandville and back.
The mother was apparently frustrated with the officer, rushed at him and knocked him into the couch. The officer had to take her to the floor before she was subdued. She was charged with a felony count of resisting an officer and two counts of child abuse, fourth degree.
Multi-State Criminal Snagged by Lowell PD
In the biggest case of October, Lowell Detective Gordy Lauren was able to put together the pieces needed to arrest a man wanted in nearly a dozen jurisdictions for writing bad checks.
Jason Faraj, a Dearborn resident, wrote a check for several thousand dollars to a Lowell business in June 2019. That check bounced and since then, Det. Lauren has been working to track the perpetrator down and was finally able to nab him in October. Already, Faraj has cases pending in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois and is suspected in cases in Florida, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
If convicted, Faraj could face anywhere from 4-12 years in prison and be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution.