By TOM TIGANI
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK — A Detroit man and a Dearborn man were arrested last Sunday after stealing liquor and leading police on a high-speed chase.
Police were called to Meijer, 3710 Dix, about 11:30 p.m. on word that two men had just stolen about $375 worth of liquor in store hand baskets and had left the parking lot in a Mercury Cougar that turned north on Dix. Officers spotted the car stopped for a red light at London, then watched as it proceeded north when the light turned green.
Police pulled behind the car and turned on their overhead lights and siren, but the car didn’t stop and entered I-75, reaching a speed of 90 mph in the process. The car continued past Outer Drive as two other patrol cars joined the chase.
The Cougar slowed to 60 mph after crossing the Rouge River bridge, allowing police to get near enough to get a look at the driver, who saw them and swerved toward them from the far left lane all the way to the right lane of the freeway. Police slammed on the brakes and swerved left to avoid a collision.
During the pursuit the driver angled at patrol cars several times in an effort to avoid being boxed in.
The Cougar then exited at Livernois and drove through two red lights at 60 mph, then turned left onto Dragoon. It then slowed and veered to the right in an apparent attempt to stop for officers, but the passenger door opened and two passengers fled on foot.
One of the patrol cars pulled in front of the suspect’s vehicle. Another officer chased one of the passengers on foot before catching up and subduing him at Military. The second passenger escaped.
The bumper of one of the patrol cars was damaged slightly during the chase.
The driver of the Cougar, 53-year-old Giovanni Panone, said he struck the patrol car that pulled in front of him with his car because his car lost all power after running the two red lights in Detroit. He told police that he was going to stop for them but that his two passengers yelled at him that they had outstanding warrants for their arrest, so he continued driving.
Though store employees said that Panone and the other man have stolen liquor several times in the past month, Panone denied ever being in the store and refused to talk any further.
The man police chased down on foot, Richard Scott, 40, of Dearborn, also was arrested.
Panone was arraigned and charged with retail fraud and fleeing and eluding police. A preliminary examination of the evidence against him is set for 9 a.m. Nov. 30. Bond is set at $20,000 or 10 percent.