Thursday, August 6, 2020

Westland police save driver from burning car

Westland police officers are being credited with saving the life of a 43-year-old Livonia resident, believed to have been driving his vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance.
Police were called to the intersection of Ford and Venoy roads at about 12:45 a.m.  June 21 following a report of a vehicle “doing donuts” in the roadway. When officers arrived on the scene, they reported observing a blue Chevrolet Traverse on Ford Road circling in reverse in the middle of the road.. Officers initially thought that the driver was unconscious, but after closer inspection were able to observe the subject was awake, holding the steering wheel, and smiling at them as the vehicle continued to circle, according to police reports of the incident.

Shortly after the officers' arrival at the intersection, the vehicle stopped the reverse circling with smoke coming from under the hood. Officers approached the vehicle and attempted to help the driver exit the car, but he refused. The officers reported that the  driver did not appear to be in a clear mental state, and was placing his life in danger by refusing to exit the vehicle.
As the vehicle fire increased and smoke increased, officers attempted to physically remove the driver as flames and fumes from the fire posed a clear risk to his life. The driver continued to fight against officers and appeared to not comprehend the danger, according to reports.. Upon attempting to physically remove the driver from the vehicle, he produced a razor blade knife and held it toward the officers who were attempting to assist him.
Officers were able to back away from the threat and gave numerous verbal commands to the driver to drop the razor blade knife.
The driver eventually complied and dropped the knife and officers again attempted to get the driver to exit the vehicle only to find that the driver had now locked his arms around the steering wheel. After some time and effort, the officers were able to remove the driver from the smoking vehicle.
With the assistance of a  large number of officers responding to the scene, police were finally able to walk the driver over to a grassy area where they handcuffed the subject without causing injury.
After the driver was restrained, officers spoke with him and determined that there was sufficient evidence to place him under arrest for operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance, and for driving on a suspended license.
The man was transported to Garden City Hospital where he was checked for additional injuries and released back into police custody..
The driver has since been released from custody pending the results of a blood test.
The driver's name and image were not released by police pending arraignment on the charges.
“Clearly these officers are not jumping to extremes. They are showing a great deal of compassion, they're handling situations and saving people's lives,” said Westland police Lt. Bob Wilkie.
“We do go through de-escalating training; we have been doing that for a while here and these are some of the tactics that are shown in a very tense situation coming to use.”