By Rosemary K. Otzman
When the first witness was called for a preliminary exam for Steven Von Shields, 40, on his charge of fleeing from police vehicles, third-degree, Shields spoke up.
Van Buren Township Officer David Champagne was getting to his feet to go to the witness stand at 34th District Court when Shields began talking.
“I’d like to invoke my rights to waive this exam,” Shields said, rising from his chair next to his court-appointed attorney David Lankford.
“It’s news to me,” Lankford said after a shocked silence, with several in the courtroom, including Chief Judge Tina Brooks Green, stating they’ve never seen Lankford at a loss for words before.
At the March 26 hearing, Judge Green said she would waive the probable-cause hearing as requested and bind Shields over to circuit court at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit for an arraignment on the information at 9 a.m. April 2.
Shields then asked the location of the vehicle that was taken from him at his arrest, “Fees go up every day, you know.”
The Michigan State Police Trooper, who was supposed to be the second witness in the preliminary exam, said when he arrested Shields in the area of I-94 and I-96 the car was towed. He said those at the Oak Park MSP Post could tell him where it was.
Shields said he’s been calling all over and the MSP in Oak Park didn’t know where it was. He said he was told it was at Gosh Towing, but he can’t find it.
Van Buren Township Det. Ken Toney said it should be “Goch & Sons Towing” on Oakwood in Detroit.
Judge Green looked it up on the internet and got a phone number and address for Shields.
“The guy wants his car,” Shields explained.
Det. Toney apologized for misspelling the name of the towing firm.
Shield’s bond of $25,000 or 10% was continued.
Police said on March 18 Officer Champagne tried to make a traffic stop on the South I-94 Service drive in VBT, but Shields wouldn’t stop and fled onto the freeway. Officer Champagne chased him on I-94 until told to stop by his supervisor. That’s when Michigan State Police took over. MSP chased Shields to I-96 where he crashed and was arrested.
Shields had been on probation and is also being held on a probation violation. He has a history of arrests for carjackings and assault with intent to rob while armed.
By Rosemary K. Otzman