Hearing still pending over crash-prone deputy

The cruiser involved in the March crash.

PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — A Van Buren County sheriff’s deputy with a long history of bad driving is still on the job, still working at the jail, after a disciplinary hearing on Monday over a chase that led to a serious crash.

Deputy Todd Oliver met with Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler and a union representative to discuss his future with the department. Gribler said he expects to finish the hearing later this week and decide whether to discipline the deputy.

Gribler has refused to say what kind of discipline he could face. The union rep told Target 8 he doubts Oliver will lose his job.

Oliver was trying to join a chase on March 28, reaching speeds of 122 mph, when he crested a hill in Bloomingdale and crashed into a family’s car, which was turning left.

The crash critically injured 16-year-old Ethan Jelsomeno.

Gribler told 24 Hour News 8 Oliver did not have permission to join the chase — a violation of policy. He did the same thing in 2013, when he rolled a patrol car after hitting 124 mph.

They are among the nine crashes Oliver has been involved in while driving police cars. He’s been warned or reprimanded six times for bad driving.

Paul Vlachos, the attorney for Jelsomeno’s family, blames the department.

“I think the county’s got to take a good hard look at who they’re hiring and who they’ve got out driving their vehicles, because they’re responsible,” he said.

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