2017-07-16 / Police Beat

Millington man leads deputies on high-speed chase

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


Matthew Schiefer Matthew Schiefer LAPEER — What began as a minor traffic infraction, which likely would have resulted in a warning, quickly escalated into a high-speed chase and ended with a felony arrest for a Millington man.

Matthew T. Schiefer, 34, is sitting in the Lapeer County Jail in lieu of a $20,000 cash bond, waiting for a probable cause conference in front of District Court Judge Laura Cheger Barnard, set for 9 a.m. July 21.

He was arraigned in front of Magistrate Michael Delling Thursday afternoon on charges including third-degree fleeing and eluding (a felony), operating under the influence of liquor and reckless driving.

Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept. deputies say Schiefer led them on a chase through six communities at speeds reaching 120 mph in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Deputy Brandon Strzynski said he was headed west on Genesee Street in Lapeer in front of Central Dispatch in his 2017 Dodge Charger patrol car at 4:28 a.m., when he spotted a 2002 Buick Century headed east on the street doing 7 mph over the speed limit.

“Usually I don’t give tickets for speeds that low,” he said. But as he turned to stop the Buick and give the driver a warning, the Buick’s driver “stomped on the gas.” Strzynski noted he hadn’t even had a chance to turn his overheads on. “All I did was turn and he was gone,” the deputy said.

By the time they got to Main Street (M-24), Strzynski said, they were doing 80 mph and the Buick ran a red light, nearly hitting a pickup truck broadside as it roared through the intersection.

The chase continued east, with speeds reaching 120 mph in front of Frank’s Foods. Strzynski said the Buick turned north on Myers and west on Bowers. Heading back into the city, the Lapeer Police Dept. set up stop sticks at the corner of Oregon and Saginaw streets, but Schiefer went around the spikes and into a church parking lot before he turned back east on the street.

Schiefer, Strzynski headed east on Bowers at speeds between 80 and 120 mph with four sheriff’s deputies and a city police car in pursuit. He said the city car broke off at the city limits, in case the Buick circled back. He said the Buick turned north on Lake George Road and pulled a high-speed U-turn in the parking lot at the Lapeer County Sportsman’s Club, where the road dead ends.

Headed south, the Buick swung east again on Bowers and turned south on Lake Pleasant, blowing the stop sign in the process. At Imlay City Road, the chase headed west to Wilder, before turning south to I-69. Police deployed stop sticks at several locations, but it appears Schiefer avoided them all until he headed west on Caley Road from South Lapeer Road. Metamora Township Police put out stop sticks at the intersection of Caley and Baldwin Roads and the Buick lost both drivers side tires.

Strzynski said as Schiefer headed south on Baldwin, his Buick began to fall apart and the chase slowed to about 45 mph. Bits and pieces of the tires and molding continued to fall off the car as he turned west on Brocker Road and then south on Hadley Road, where he eventually ground to a halt.

Strzynski said he could hear the engine racing, but the car was moving slower as it got into Hadley Township. He said all he was thinking of during the chase was getting the Buick stopped before the driver hurt himself or someone else.

Finally, Schiefer “just gave up.” Schiefer said the suspect had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend earlier and had been drinking before the deputy spotted him. Still, the Millington man refused to take a breathalyzer or allow a blood draw.

By the time the 44-minute chase was over, Schiefer had led deputies through parts of Lapeer, and the townships of Attica, Arcadia, Lapeer, Metamora and Hadley.

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