Wednesday Afternoon State News Summary
Wed, 14 Nov 2012 11:58:01 EST
(MI-I-96 Shooter-UPDATE)
Judges in both Oakland and Livingston counties have ordered a competency
examination for the the man suspected in some of the shootings along the I-96
corridor in southeast Michigan.
43-year old Raulie (RAW-lee) Casteel of Wixom is facing over 60 counts in
Oakland County including assault with intent to murder for shootings in Wixom
and Commerce Township. He is charged with six counts, including felonious
assault, for an October 18 shooting on I-96 in Howell Township.
Casteel is being held in the Livingston County Jail on two-million dollars bond.
Charges against Casteel are pending in Ingham and Shiawassee counties.


(South Haven-Crash Kills Three)
A Southwest Michigan woman and her boyfriend's two daughters have died after a
head-on crash with a drunk driver in Van Buren County's Geneva Township near
South Haven.
Dead are 4-year-old Cassadi (CASS-uh-DEE) and 2-year-old Kandice Berryhill from
South Haven and 24-year-old Brittney King of Bangor. The girls' father, Justin
Berryhill of Grand Junction, is listed in stable condition.
King's vehicle was hit head-on by a pickup truck driven by 32 year-old man from
Alabama who told police he had been drinking. He was hospitalized and is in
stable condition. Police say the children were not in car seats.
The name of driver of the pickup is not being released pending possible charges.
The Sheriff's Department says the man has a suspended license, as well as seven
prior convictions for driving with a suspended license. He also has a previous
conviction for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
(Mike Arney, WSJM, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor)


(MI-Toyota Recall)
Toyota is recalling 670,000 of their popular Prius and Prius hybrid vehicles in
the United States to correct two safety issues.
Japans top automaker said all of the vehicles will be inspected to see if a part
in the steering shaft needs to be replaced because of an issue that could cause
excessive wear. Affected models were produced from 2000 to 2011 in Japan, and
from 2000 to 2009 overseas.
Approximately 350,000 of these same Prius vehicles are also being recalled to
replace the electric water pump for the hybrid system. Toyota says the pump
could fail and cause the hybrid system to stop running. Those vehicles were
produced from 2001 to 2010 in Japan, and from 2003 to 2011 overseas.
The automaker says no accidents have been reported related to these two
problems. Toyota said its dealers will inspect and replace any defective
systems, free of charge.
Recall notices are expected to go out to owners of the affected vehicles in
December. The recall affects a total of about 2.77 million vehicles world-wide.
(WWJ, Detroit)


(MI-Bureaucracy Busters)
Governor Rick Snyder has announced the first winners of the Bureaucracy Busters
program, a social media initiative that calls on state of Michigan employees to
offer innovative ideas for enhancing efficiency, customer service and the
workplace.
Employees were invited to post ideas on a crowdsourcing website, vote on the
ideas that they prefer, and provide feedback on others ideas. Nearly 8,300 state
employees participated, 1,200 ideas were posted, 5,896 comments were offered,
and 110,000 votes were cast since the program launched September 5th.
The winners are: David Coger, a transportation engineer with the Department of
Transportation, who suggested cutting down on the number of passwords to access
state employee websites; Selena Friend, an associate engineer for development in
M-DOTs Bay Region, who suggested notifying job applicants when they are not
selected for interviews; and Tom Barrett, a Department of Treasury analyst, who
suggested that Pure Michigan billboards include the names of the scenic
locations that are featured in the marketing campaigns photos.
The next phase of the Bureaucracy Busters program will invite state employees to
vote on one of several problems they want to solve together. Once selected, they
can offer ideas for solving that problem on the Bureaucracy Busters website.
The initiative is a takeoff on the Discovery Channel's "MythBusters" television
program, which investigates the validity of rumors and myths, and "busts" those
that aren't true.


(Pontiac-Woman Attacked In Home)
A Pontiac woman who was attacked in her home and left for dead, is now clinging
to life at an area hospital.
The Oakland County Sheriffs Department said 33-year-old Tanisha (TUH-nee-SHA)
Silas (SYE-las) was found lying on the kitchen floor by her husband around 6:15
p.m. Tuesday. Police say it appears she interrupted a home invasion in progress.
They say the home had been ransacked.
Police say the womans sports utility vehicle, which was presumed stolen, was
recovered early this (Wednesday) morning in the west parking lot of Doctors
Hospital in Pontiac - located about one mile west of the crime scene.
Police initially said Silas had died, but are now saying shes in critical
condition at a local hospital.
The Sheriffs Departments crime lab was at the home most of the evening, although
officers there wouldnt comment on the investigation. Investigators say Silas
husband isnt a suspect and has been totally cooperative.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Oakland County Sheriff or Crime
Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP. There is a $1000 reward for information leading to
an arrest.
(WWJ, Detroit)


(MI-Secession Petition Started)
Michigan is one of 20 states that has started a symbolic petition on the White
House website to secede from the union following President Barack Obama's
re-election.
The petition is titled: "Peacefully grant the State of Michigan to withdraw from
the United States of America and create its own NEW government." It has more
than 14,000 signatures.
The petition has no real power. If petitions net 25,000 signatures in 30 days,
that triggers a response from the White House.
The language is virtually identical to that of the other states, and Texas and
Louisiana have gathered the most signatures. The other states are Alabama,
Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri,
Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South
Carolina and Tennessee.


(Bay City-Bennett Plea)
A Mount Pleasant man charged with the death of a four-year-old boy last summer
has plead not guilty in federal court in Bay City.
20-year old Anthony Bennett, a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, is
charged with first degree murder in the death of Carnel Chamberlain, which
garnered national attention.
The child's body was found under the porch of his mother's home on the tribe's
reservation near Mount Pleasant on June 28th after a week-long search. Carnel
was being watched by Bennett while his mother was working the night he went
missing.
Bennett, who was living in the home with Carnel and his mother Jaimee, was
already being jailed in Bay County on charges of assaulting the boy.
He's scheduled to be back in court November 27th.
(WBRN, Big Rapids)


(Kalamazoo Co-Two Burned in Fire)
Two people were severely burned this morning (Wednesday) in a fire at a home
near Kalamazoo.
The Kalamazoo County Sheriffs Office says crews responded to the house in
Schoolcraft shortly after 2 a.m. The house was fully engulfed in flames when
firefighters arrived, but they went in, pulling the two severely burned
residents out.
The victims were rushed to Bronson Hospital where doctors are treating them for
burns covering over 90 percent of their bodies.
The State Fire Marshall has been asked to investigate the cause of the fire.
Several pets belonging to the victims were killed in the blaze.
(WBCK, Battle Creek)


(Van Buren Co-Marijuana Operation Busted)
The Van Buren County Sheriff's Department has made a significant drug seizure.
Officers destroyed over 1,700 marijuana plants from a wooded area in Covert
Township with a street value of $1.7 million. Officers found three areas where
the trees had been cut and the land cleared for the pot. There was also a
excavated area that they say held a water supply for the plants.
Authorities think the operation may be connected to a similar one discovered on
August 22 in which 1,781 plants were destroyed.
No suspects have been identified as yet, and police are urging anyone with
information to call the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office, Crime Stoppers or
Silent Observer.
(Mike Arney, WSJM, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor)


(MI-Charity Scam)
A metro Detroit man who started fake charities and impersonated veterans groups
for his own gain will spend at least the next year and a half in prison.
Attorney General Bill Schuette announced today that 37-year-old Neil Thrasher of
West Bloomfield was sentenced to 17 months to ten years in prison and ordered to
pay nearly 75-thousand dollars in restitution to the Disabled American Veterans
and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Thrasher pleaded no contest to creating two fake charities: The Paralyzed
American Veterans and Disabled Veterans of America.
Officials say from January 2009 through this past April Thrasher collected more
than $180,000 through telemarketing from unsuspecting donors and used the money
to make purchases at athletic clubs, liquor stores, and restaurants. The vast
majority of money collected was allegedly never used to help veterans or given
to veterans organizations.


(Bay Co-Drunk Driving Death)
State Police say a Pinconning man faces two felony charges after fatal, head-on
collision Sunday night in Bay County.
Troopers say 25-year-old Ryan James was charged with operating a motor vehicle
while under the influence of alcohol, causing death and leaving the scene of a
fatal accident.
James claims he fell asleep while driving before crossing the center line of a
road in Pinconning Township. 56-year-old Elbert Nelson
of Beaverton was killed in the crash, north of Pinconning.
A Bay County District Court judge ordered James held on a $150,000 bond after he
was arraigned on the charges Tuesday. Each charge carries a maximum, 15 years in
prison if convicted. James was also charged with a misdemeanor, drunk driving
second offense.
No date has been set for a preliminary hearing to determine if James will be
bound over to Bay County Circuit Court for trial.
(WSGW, Saginaw)


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