Deputies: Dead deer used to cover up horse hit-run

Michael Dean. (June 25, 2014)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Plainfield Township man allegedly hit a horse with his Jeep earlier this month, took off, and then tried to cover up the hit-and-run using hair from a dead deer.

Michael John Dean, 36, was arraigned Wednesday on one misdemeanor count of failure to stop at the scene of a personal injury accident.

The crash happened on June 3 near the intersection of Byrne Avenue and 5 Mile Road in Grattan Township, southwest of Belding. A Jeep Cherokee struck a horse carrying a rider. The rider was not seriously hurt, but the horses sustained a broken leg and had to be euthanized. The driver took off in the Cherokee.

Authorities on the scene near where a horse carrying three riders was hit by a Jeep. (June 3, 2014)
(Authorities on the scene near where a horse was hit by a Jeep. June 3, 2014)

Investigators soon developed information about Dean’s Jeep Cherokee, which had sustained fresh damage, a Wednesday release from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department said.

Dean told deputies he hit a deer on Cannonsburg Road around the same time the horse was struck. He said he had nothing to do with the hit-and-run.

Deputies got a search warrant and the Jeep was forensically examined. Vehicle parts left at the hit-and-run were a “perfect match to the suspect vehicle,” the sheriff’s department said.

When deputies told Dean about their evidence, he admitted he had hit the horse and then taken off because he was scared, the sheriff’s department said.

The sheriff’s department says Dean also told deputies that he stopped on Cannonsburg Road after the crash, where he found a dead deer, and put deer hair on the damage to his vehicle in an effort to avoid being caught.

If found guilty of the misdemeanor charge, Dean could spend a year in jail.

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