By SUE SUCHYTA
Times Herald Newspapers
DEARBORN – What began as a routine traffic stop ended in the fleeing vehicle’s crash and the alleged car thief’s arrest May 22 following a brief police pursuit at Fairlane Town Center.
A patrol officer noticed that a black 2018 Dodge Charger with tinted windows, which was driving south on the Southfield Freeway service drive, had a defective brake light. As the vehicle turned into Fairlane Town Center, the police officer saw the driver roll through a stop sign, and initiated a traffic stop.
When the police officer approached the vehicle, the driver abruptly fled the scene, driving westbound toward the mall, then eastbound away from the shopping center, through the parking lot.
The driver was headed for the road encircling the mall, and did not realize that a steep cement embankment at the end of the parking lot was not a safe way to transition to the roadway.
The Charger struck the curb and embankment at a high rate of speed, landing perpendicular to the traffic lanes on Town Center Drive, continued across the road, struck a light pole cement support, and plowed up a grassy embankment, into the parking lot of an office building owned by Ford Land Development at 500 Town Center Drive.
As the pursuing police officer approached the damaged vehicle in his patrol car, he saw two men and a woman exit the vehicle and attempt to leave the scene.
The police officer exited his vehicle and ordered the people to get on the ground. The woman immediately complied; however, the driver began running and reaching into his waistband, as if to retrieve a weapon.
The officer pointed his semi-automatic pistol at the man, ordering him to show his hands and get on the ground. Both men stopped fleeing and got on the ground.
When backup arrived, the driver was handcuffed, searched and arrested for fleeing and eluding, and placed in a patrol car.
The two passengers were eventually released at the scene.
It was then learned that the Charger was reported as stolen from Detroit.
Police Chief Ronald Haddad said the driver was a person of interested in other cases, as well.
He said the three people in the stolen car all had weapons, and there were two more people arrested later in connection with the traffic stop.
“There were five people arrested that day, and they all had guns,” he said. “I know for an absolute fact – five people, five guns.”