GRPD: Driver causes 2 crashes, assaults officer

Grand Rapids, Lake Michigan Drive, Covell Avenue
The scene of a crash at the intersection of Lake Michigan Drive and Covell Avenue NW in Grand Rapids. (June 18, 2017)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A driver was taken into custody Sunday night after allegedly causing two crashes and then assaulting a police officer, Grand Rapids police say.

It happened around 9:30 p.m. The Grand Rapids Police Department says the driver caused a two-car crash on Lake Michigan Drive NW, then drove off. Only a short distance away, the driver hit a utility pole at Covell Avenue.

Grand Rapids, Lake Michigan Drive, Covell Avenue
The scene of a crash at the intersection of Lake Michigan Drive and Covell Avenue NW in Grand Rapids. (June 18, 2017)

The driver apparently got out of the crashed car. Police are looking into whether he may have tried to assault someone in a third vehicle.

When police arrived on scene, the driver allegedly assaulted an officer.

The suspect was taken into custody.

Neither the officer nor anyone else was seriously injured, GRPD says.

Witness Kyle Veldman told 24 Hour News 8 he saw the driver hit the utility pole and went to help.

“He came crawling out of the car, swinging on me, screaming, ‘I’m not high anymore.’ At that point, he took off westbound, walking down the street on Lake Michigan Drive, screaming all sorts of obscenities, saying he’s not high anymore, he’s Jesus, the son of God,” Veldman said. “The police came up and when they attempted to talk to him, he reached inside the police car and grabbed a cop’s face. When the cop tried to pull off, the guy held onto the car.”

Grand Rapids, Lake Michigan Drive, Covell Avenue
The scene of a crash at the intersection of Lake Michigan Drive and Covell Avenue NW in Grand Rapids. (June 18, 2017)

He said the man was dragged about 10 feet.

“More cruisers showed up and they attempted to tase him — didn’t phase him,” Veldman said. “About three of four taser shots later and eight police holding him down, they finally got him down in the middle of Lake Michigan Drive and subdued him.”

He said that just after the crash, the man hugged a friend who was following behind in a separate vehicle, but also bit that friend on the cheek. Veldman said he was also assaulted by the driver when he tried to help.

Traffic along Lake Michigan Drive was disrupted while emergency responders were on scene investigating and cleaning up.