BY MATT TROUTMAN
---- — SUTTONS BAY — A Traverse City man is accused of leading Leelanau County sheriff's deputies and tribal police on a high-speed chase that was so dangerous authorities stopped the pursuit out of fear for the public's safety.
The suspect, 18, hasn't been arrested or charged, but Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich said the case will be sent to the prosecutor's office. Authorities said the suspect reached speeds of up to 100 mph at one point during the Saturday chase.
"They made the decision to call off the pursuit because the operator was crazy," Borkovich said.
The incident began when a sheriff's deputy clocked the vehicle at 79 mph on South Center Highway near Shady Lane in Bingham Township. The deputy pulled the driver over, and the driver told the deputy he didn't have his license and the car belonged to his sister. The driver provided a full name and date of birth.
The deputy asked the driver to get out of the car, but the man put the car into drive and sped north on South Center Highway. The driver reached speeds of 100 mph as he entered Suttons Bay and 70 mph — twice the posted speed limit — when he turned onto Lincoln Avenue and then Concord Street before traveling on West Bay Shore Drive.
Leelanau County Sheriff's Lt. Clint Kerr said deputies and a Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians tribal police officer lost contact with the vehicle after the driver went onto a two-track road through orchards off Jacobson Road near McKeese Road.
Borkovich said the driver's passenger, a 20-year-old Mount Pleasant woman with a tribal ID card, also had a suspended driver's license and was arrested Tuesday by a Grand Traverse Band police officer on a drunken driving charge in Mount Pleasant. He said the woman was driving the same black Ford Taurus X crossover SUV as reported in the Leelanau County chase and, this time, the male suspect was the passenger.
The male suspect had outstanding warrants with a 100-mile pickup order from Grand Traverse County, but was arrested.
"The warrant was out of range," Borkovich said. The man was transported to a residence in the Mount Pleasant area by tribal police.
Tribal police couldn't be reached for more information on the female suspect's arrest or arraignment. Leelanau County authorities are seeking charges of third-degree fleeing and eluding, driving while suspended and no proof of insurance against the male suspect.