By Rosemary K. Otzman
Dauwan Smith, 54, has been bound over to circuit court for an arraignment on the information at 9 a.m., July 2, for charges surrounding a chopped-up F-150 truck in the back of a U-Haul in which he was a passenger.
After a preliminary exam on June 25 before 34th District Court Judge Brian A. Oakley, Judge Oakley ruled the prosecutor had fulfilled his burden of proof and there was probable cause to bind Smith over to the higher court.
Smith’s bond of $250,000 or 10% was continued on Chop Shop charges and receiving and concealing stolen property.
But, bond wasn’t a problem, since Smith was brought to court in prison garb by two Michigan Department of Corrections officers. He already was on a hold for violation of probation.
Smith’s court-appointed attorney was David Lankford and the special prosecutor was John Johnson.
Michigan State Police Trooper Ben Sonstrom was the first witness. He testified that he pulled over a small U-Haul box truck going westbound on I-94 near Rawsonville Road in Van Buren Township.
He said it was a traffic stop, with the truck going 75 mph in a 70 mph zone. He said he was in his MSP uniform in a marked MSP car. He said he noticed a red fluid dripping down from the back of the rollup door.
He testified that he took the driver back to his MSP vehicle and made contact with the passenger, Smith, who had dirty clothes and dirty and greasy hands.
Trooper Sonstrom called for backup. He found the driver did not have a valid driver’s license. He said they found a bunch of car parts in the back of the U-Haul, tires, and an engine or transmission.
He said they took both the driver and passenger into custody, towed the vehicle, and contacted the Southeast Auto Theft Team.
Sonstrom testified there were parts and tools in the back and saw blades in the front, from a reciprocating saw or Sawzall.
On cross-examination by Lankford, Sonstrom said they could not find a key for the padlock on the back of the truck, so they cut it open with a bolt cutter.
Sonstrom testified he didn’t know how long Smith was in the vehicle, but Smith told him he was just out for a ride with his friend.
Sonstrom said he contacted a person at U-Haul and found that Smith didn’t rent the truck and it was rented by Bobby Drennan. Lankford said, speaking of the man at U-Hall, “He told you about it and Smith never came up,” and Sonstrom said that was true.
The second witness was MSP Trooper Brian Ball, with the Motor Carrier Enforcement Division. He testified that he came to assist Trooper Sonstrom on westbound I-94 near Rawsonville. He said he put Smith in his patrol car. He patted down Smith for weapons and found none.
Trooper Ball, too, described Smith as having dirty hands and clothes.
After transporting Smith back to the post, he emptied the suspect’s pockets and found a chrome socket in his front pants. He turned everything in the pockets over to Det. Lt. Ray Collins of the Southeast Michigan Auto Theft Team.
Det./Lt. Collins was the third witness. He said he was called to state police headquarters to investigate the case and looked at the interior of the cab and saw the blades.
He said there was oil all over the step going into the cargo area and he had to be careful climbing up.
Det/Lt. Collins testified that inside the cargo area were a Ford engine, transmission, all three interior seats, five wheels (4 tires and a spare), a PCM (brain) all for a Ford truck. There also was a large bag of tools and a cherry picker.
All the parts were for the same Ford truck, a 2014 F-150 truck, reported stolen the previous day by U-Haul.
Judge Oakley clarified that the pickup in pieces in the U-Haul truck was owned by U-Haul and reported missing by them.
Collins said Mr. Robinson was the driver and neither he nor Smith had permission to be using the U-Haul truck.
When the prosecutor asked the value of the parts in the cargo hold, Collins checked his written report and said the engine was worth $6,100, the transmission $5,100, the power train control module $725, tires and rims $2,100…
Defense attorney Lankford interrupted the report saying defense would stipulate the parts were worth more than $1,000 total.
Lankford pointed out the socket in Smith’s pocket was 11 mm, about half an inch in size, and Collins said that was so, but several other similar sockets were in the toolbag in back with the same wording engraved on them.
Prosecutor Johnson summarized his evidence against Smith: a stolen U-Haul, stolen parts, greasy, dirty, and socket in pocket.
Judge Oakley ruled Smith bound over to circuit court.
Court records show that Smith has a history of more than a dozen convictions involving stolen vehicles and a 1988 conviction for escape from prison.
Clarence Joseph Johnson
A preliminary exam on a charge of possession of narcotics against Clarence Joseph Johnson was adjourned until July 2 by Judge Oakley. Johnson’s bond of $4,000 personal recognizance was continued. Chief officer on the case is VBT Detective Donovan McCarthy.
Stephon Douglas Hansle
Stephon Douglas Hansle, 21, waived his preliminary exam and Judge Oakley bound him over for an arraignment on the information July 9 at circuit court.
His bond of $20,000/10% was continued. He was lodged in the Wayne County Jail.
Hansle is charged with fleeing a police officer in a vehicle, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, and operating without a license, all on June 5.
Sumpter officer in charge is Det. John Toth.
Det. Toth said this is the case where Randy Lynch from the Sumpter Township Water Department was rear-ended in his township truck at Sumpter and Willis roads. The driver fled and Lynch followed, updating dispatch.
Sumpter Officers Jerry Cox, Jr. and James Cayce gave chase on Rawsonville Road until Snow Road and then the chase was terminated because of nearby Rawsonville School.
Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Deputies found the car in West Willow with defendant Hansle standing next to it. Officer Cox identified the driver and the case moved forward, Toth said.
Toth said Lynch had been a reserve police officer in the past and served as a great witness.
Donna Sue Fairley
Donna Sue Fairley, 45, who was charged with malicious destruction of personal property worth more than $1,000 but less than $20,000 in VBT waived her preliminary exam and was bound over to circuit court for a 9 a.m., July 9 arraignment on the information.
Her personal recognizance bond of $10,000 was continued. The alleged incident occurred on Oct. 8, 2013. VBT Det. Mark Buxton is the officer in charge and court-appointed attorney Lankford was her defense attorney.
Maurice Demming pled guilty to being a disorderly person. He told Judge Oakley that he was being loud in the 100 block of Western Street in Belleville (VBT) on Dec. 16, 2012. The original charge against him was dismissed in the plea deal. Judge Oakley fined him $570.
Demming said he had three different cases pending and has an Aug. 26 court date.
Five bench warrants
At the end of the court session, around 11 a.m., Judge Oakley order five bench warrants for defendants who were supposed to be in court that day at 9 a.m. and didn’t show up.
By Rosemary K. Otzman