Man charged in death of Ingham Co. Deputy Grant Whitaker

Posted at 4:42 PM, Dec 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-15 17:36:06-05

INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. – Michigan State Police say John Kelsey II, 34, of Stockbridge, is charged with two felonies tied to the death of Ingham County Sheriff Deputy Grant Whitaker from Stockbridge.

Kelsey was charged with first degree fleeing and eluding causing death and with driving with a suspended or revoked license causing death. According to Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III, each charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Investigators said they did not expect to be this far in the investigation until hundreds of tips led to Kelsey’s arrest Dec. 12.

"Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Whitaker family: he was not only a son, but he was a brother as well,” said Michigan State Police Director Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue.

"When this death occurred, we did not have any information as to the identity of the vehicle or of the driver,” said Dunnings. “I did not believe that we would be this far in this investigation to the point where we are actually reviewing charges on a suspect one week after Deputy Whitaker's death."

On Dec. 7, Whitaker, 25, was killed during a high-speed chase on Dexter Trail east of M-52 in Stockbridge. Investigators now believe Whitaker was chasing Kelsey, who is believed to have been a white 2003 GMC Denali registered to a relative.

Investigators said they are still determining what caused Whitaker's patrol car to veer off the road and hit a tree.

"We also opened a 24-hour tip line,” said Kibbey Etue. “I will say that tip line received hundreds of tips. I want to publicly thank the community and the citizens who also stepped forward to help us with this investigation." A judge set Kelsey's bond at $1 million cash surety; Kelsey is due back in court Dec. 22.

Dunnings told FOX 17 Kelsey is charged as a habitual offender due to his lengthy criminal record that includes a conviction for fleeing and eluding, drug charges, and resisting arrest.