Suspected copper thief ends chase with swim in Ecorse Creek

Photo by Sue Suchyta A suspect fleeing police officers from three jurisdictions June 26 tried swimming north in Ecorse Creek near the Emmons Bridge, shown above in an April bridge repair photo.

Photo by Sue Suchyta
A suspect fleeing police officers from three jurisdictions June 26 tried swimming north in Ecorse Creek near the Emmons Bridge, shown above in an April bridge repair photo.

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – A fleeing suspect led police officers from three departments on a car chase June 26 that switched to a foot chase before ending in a desperate swim in Ecorse Creek.

Dispatch alerted patrol officers to a report of two men removing salvageable metal from the Conrail tracks at 4:14 a.m. June 26 near Alfred Street and North Drive. When officers approached, they saw a 31-year-old Taylor man in a black shirt loading material into the back seat of a white Buick LaCrosse.

As police activated their overhead patrol car lights, the man put his hands over his head, then jumped into the front seat of his vehicle, fleeing west on North Drive at a high rate of speed. The license plate was covered with a plastic bag, rendering it unreadable.

As the man sped west on North Drive, the road turned sharply as it approached Emmons Boulevard, and the man hit a curb with his vehicle, damaging a tire and the front passenger side of the vehicle.

The suspect then took off on foot, running past a house at Riverside Drive and Emmons Boulevard, ignoring commands from officers to stop, and jumped into Ecorse Creek, and swimming under the Emmons Bridge.

Additional Wyandotte officers, as well as officers from Lincoln Park and Ecorse, arrived in the area of the bridge, which spans the border of Wyandotte and Lincoln Park. Officers surrounded the bridge from both banks, calling to the man to come out from underneath the bridge.

The man then decided to try to swim north in Ecorse Creek.

Two officers removed their protective vests, duty belts and boots, entering Ecorse Creek from the south side of the bridge to pursue the man, carrying flashlights and chemical deterrent spray.

The man was warned repeatedly that he would be electronically subdued if he did not surrender, but he continued to try to swim away, while claiming that he was swimming toward the riverbank.

He was finally electronically and chemically subdued before the two officers in the creek were able to drag him toward the shore, where other officers took over.

The man was handcuffed and placed in the rear of a patrol car. His driver’s license was found to be suspended. In addition to a suspended license citation, he was charged with larceny, fleeing and eluding, and resisting and obstructing officers.

When the vehicle was inventoried prior to being impounded and towed, a large amount of copper wire was found in the trunk, back seat and front passenger seat. A Coolpad Note 5 cellphone was found in the back seat, and two hypodermic syringes – one loaded, one empty – were found in the front seat center console.

Conrail was notified of the potential theft. A spokesperson said they would investigate and let the Wyandotte police officials know if the copper in the suspect’s vehicle was stolen from the railroad tracks where the man was first observed.

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)