Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 25, 2012

Local and state briefs: 12/25/2012


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Snowmobiler hits tree, dies in Kalkaska

BEAR LAKE TOWNSHIP — Authorities in the northwestern Lower Peninsula say a 52-year-old suburban Detroit man was killed when his speeding snowmobile hit a tree.

The Kalkaska County Sheriff Department says the fatal crash happened Saturday near Camp Grayling in Bear Lake Township.

Authorities identified the victim as Michael Moran of Livonia. They say he apparently was climbing a hill at a high rate of speed when he hit the tree.

He was declared dead at the scene.

Man drives 2 miles along railroad track

DENMARK TOWNSHIP — A 69-year-old mid-Michigan man drove his sport utility vehicle two miles along railroad tracks in Tuscola County before the vehicle somehow caught fire.

WSGW-AM reported Monday that the Midland man escaped injury and may face drunken driving and other charges.

State police said the man turned east Sunday morning onto the Huron & Eastern Railway track from a northbound road in Denmark Township, about 65 miles northeast of Lansing.

Officials said the tracks were damaged by the fire.

Work on oil pipeline delayed until spring

GRIFFITH, Ind. — The operator of an oil pipeline that caused a large spill in Michigan expects it will be at least May before work begins to replace a 60-mile section of that pipeline in northern Indiana.

Enbridge Energy had planned to finish the section from its facility in the Lake County town of Griffith into Michigan by the end of this year, but its plans were delayed because of opposition, project director Thomas Hodge told The Times of Munster for a story Monday.

The company now expects the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and other agencies to issue permits for the project in the spring, Hodge said. Contractors would begin work in May and break ground in June.

"By the first of October, we hope to have things ready to deactivate the existing line," Hodge said. The new line would be placed into service soon after, he said.

State police probe death of jail inmate

MUSKEGON — A 34-year-old West Michigan jail inmate was found unresponsive and later died after twice attempting to escape from his cell.

Deputies at the Muskegon County Jail placed Dahnontae McKinley in a "restraint chair" Saturday afternoon after pepper spray didn't deter him, Sheriff Dean Roesler said Monday in a release.

McKinley was found unresponsive during a routine check later in the day and taken to an area hospital. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. Autopsy results were pending.

McKinley had been in the jail, about 35 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, since Dec. 14 on charges of robbery, solicitation of prostitution and domestic violence, according to Roesler.

Video recordings from Saturday show him "pushing past a guard to escape his cell," the sheriff said.

Several deputies took McKinley back to his cell, but he "again tried to forcibly escape" and "physically resisted" the officers, Roesler said. Two jail deputies were treated at a hospital for injuries and released.

Pepper spray was used on McKinley, but had no effect. He eventually was subdued and placed in a restraint chair alone in the cell.

Katrina McKinley told WOOD-TV that her husband was healthy.

"I had just talked to him the day before," she said. "He sounded just fine. He was ready to come home. I just want to know what happened."

Jail video has been turned over to the Michigan State Police, which is investigating McKinley's death, Roesler said.

AP-WF-12-24-12 1824GMT