19-year-old arrested after fleeing from, pointing toy gun at Berrien County police

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Posted at 1:23 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 13:23:55-05

WATERVILET TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A 19-year-old Hartford man was arrested Friday morning after fleeing from and pointing what looked like a gun at Berrien County officers, according to a news release.

Watervilet City police tried to stop a driver in a Ford Escape about 9 a.m. for reckless driving on M-140 near Lane Drive in Watervilet Township.

The driver did not pull over and instead entered westbound I-94, with police pursuing him.

He continued refusing to pull over and speeding away, going through the townships of Watervilet, Coloma and Benton before turning around near Pipestone Road and beginning to travel eastbound on I-94.

During the pursuit, the driver pointed what police described as a “realistic-looking handgun” - which was later discovered to be a toy gun – at two Berrien County Sheriff’s Office deputies, who were assisting in the pursuit.

The Coloma Township Police Department was able to safely deploy some “Stop Stiks,” a tire-deflating device, on the vehicle on eastbound I-94 near Highland Avenue in Benton Township.

As the driver began to feel one of his front tires slowly deflating, he pulled over, threw the “realistic-looking handgun” to the ground and surrendered to officers without incident.

He was lodged at the Berrien County Jail on one count of fleeing and eluding and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.

No one was injured and no property was damaged other than the front passenger tire of the suspect vehicle.

The speeds of the suspect vehicle and of law enforcement personnel was about 100 miles per hour during the pursuit.