By Rosemary K. Otzman
Michael Leak, 47, of Detroit was arrested by Sumpter Township Police on Friday after driving off with an F-350 dually pickup that was warming up in a driveway.
Sumpter Police Detective John Toth said Leak was apprehended after high-speed chases up and down Rawsonville Road by Michigan State Police, Sumpter and Van Buren Township officers.
It all began at about 4:30 p.m. Friday when a man in the 11000 block of Rawsonville Road started up his truck to warm it up and left it running while he went back inside the house, Det. Toth said.
He told police he looked out the window and saw his truck backing out of his driveway. He called 911 and told police the truck was headed northbound. Sumpter put out a “Be on the Lookout” over the police radio and VBT Officer Scott Griggs identified the car at Rawsonville and Grove roads.
VBT Lt. Ken Floro said that the VBT officer attempted a traffic stop, but the driver failed to stop and responded by driving in an erratic, reckless manner at speeds in excess of 80 mph and striking another vehicle.
“VBT Command Officers terminated the chase at the VBT jurisdictional boundary [Bemis Road] due to poor road conditions, heavy traffic, overly erratic/reckless driving by the suspect and the totality of the original Sumpter Township incident,” Lt. Floro said.
Meanwhile, Michigan State Police and Sumpter Township Sgt. James Cayce saw the truck pull into the far eastern section of the parking lot of A2Mac1 business on Rawsonville, just south of Bemis. The trooper and Sgt. Cayce approached the truck and the driver accelerated, aiming at the two, and the officers had to take evasive action to avoid being hit, Det. Toth said.
Leak then lost control and crashed the truck into a snowbank. While he was trying to get the truck out, the officers rammed the truck deeper into the snow to keep him from getting away.
Leak was arrested and charged with: unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle, receiving and concealing stolen motor vehicle, third-degree fleeing a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon (times 2) and fourth-degree fleeing a police officer.
If he is convicted and given the maximum sentences, he would get 25 years in prison.
Leak’s preliminary exam is set for 9 a.m., Jan. 22 at 34th District Court. Det. Toth said police are asking a $50,000/10% bond.
Leak is listed as an absconder from parole as of Nov. 12. He has been in and out of prison since 1988 and uses a dozen aliases.
By Rosemary K. Otzman