Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 24, 2014

Arrest ends multi-county chase


---- — KALKASKA — A Traverse City woman is accused of leading authorities on a high-speed, multi-county race down icy, snowy roads from Kalkaska County until a spike strip stopped her car 60 miles away.

Sara Marie Williams, 34, fled a sheriff’s deputy who tried to stop her late Wednesday for speeding down U.S. 131 at 71 mph, said Kalkaska County Sheriff Dave Israel. The deputy reported Williams’ Mercedes Benz reached 85 mph before his own vehicle slid off the road and rolled over into a ditch.

“There was fresh snow and it was very cold. Of course, the wind was blowing and it just iced-over the roads,” Israel said. “It made it extremely treacherous to navigate.”

Israel said the deputy, who suffered a wrist injury, reported Williams’ vehicle traveling south on U.S. 131, and Wexford County sheriff’s deputies soon restarted the chase. Undersheriff Richard Denison said the driver reached speeds above 100 mph and the deputies purposely fell behind in the poor weather conditions.

“(Our deputies) just kept in eyesight because the roads were so slick and dangerous,” he said.

The driver sped through Wexford County and continued through 23 miles of Osceola County before she reached the end of the chase. Osceola County Undersheriff Justin Halladay said deputies set up a spike strip just south of Reed City. A spike strip consists of hollow tubes designed to puncture and gradually deflate tires.

“Thankfully, it was successful,” Halladay said.

The car rolled to a stop and deputies arrested the suspect, who was transported to Kalkaska County’s jail to face charges. Kalkaska County Prosecutor Mike Perreault authorized charges of third-degree fleeing and eluding a police officer, possession of amphetamine and operating under the influence of a controlled substance.

Williams appeared for arraignment Thursday in 87th District Court. She remains jailed on a $250,000 cash or surety bond.

Israel said he’s hopeful the injured deputy will be able to return to work soon. He said Williams appeared very intoxicated following her arrest, but her demeanor changed for her court appearance.

“I think it was finally starting to sink in,” he said.

Wexford County authorities intend to authorize similar charges against Williams.