Hit And Run Suspect Apprehended
Friday, July 23, 2021

(HOWARD TOWNSHIP) – Cass County authorities say they have apprehended a suspect wanted in connection with a hit and run incident.

Sheriff Richard Behnke says just after 8 PM Thursday, 50 year year old Jeffrey Vankirk of Niles was driving north on Barron Lake Road near Cook Street, accompanied by 52 year old Linda True.

Investigators say the suspect spotted the Vankirk vehicle and tried to ram it. The suspect then sped up along side the Vankirk vehicle, side swiping it and then leaving the area.

While responding to the scene, deputies spotted the suspect vehicle and tried to pull it over. The suspect drove away from the officers, and was able to ditch their vehicle on a side street and run away. K-9 Officer Faust was called in and tracked the suspect and found them hiding in a child's tree fort a half a mile away.

Neither Vankirk or his passenger were injured in the incident, and both were wearing their safety belts. Deputies say alcohol was a factor in the crash.

The suspect is behind held in the Cass County Jail, pending their arraignment in District Court.

Assisting deputies were the Pokagon Tribal Police.

The case is still under investigation. If anyone has information, they can call the Cass County Sheriff's Department at 269-445-8644.