BREAKING: Man attempts to rob Edwardsburg bank, crashes into vehicle in Cassopolis

Published 4:08 pm Thursday, April 8, 2010

EDWARDSBURG – The Cass County Sheriff reports that one man is in custody after attempting to rob the Chemical Bank in Edwardsburg and then colliding with another vehicle during a chase.

The Ontwa Township Police Department was notified by Chemical Bank employees at 9:52 a.m. today that a suspicious subject was loitering in and near the bank and gave a description of a vehicle that he had left in. The Ontwa Township-Edwardsburg Police Department responded to the scene and immediately observed a vehicle matching that description. Upon attempting to stop the vehicle it fled at a high rate of speed northbound on M-62 from the Village of Edwardsburg at which time the officer gave chase.

The vehicle continued at a high rate of speed, at one point avoiding stop sticks deployed by sheriff deputies. The vehicle continued into Cassopolis on M-62 and then collided with a vehicle turning onto Hilton Street in Cassopolis.

After the 10-mile pursuit, the driver then fled the scene on foot uninjured. Law enforcement officials shortly thereafter apprehended him.

The vehicle that was struck by the fleeing suspect was driven by Amanda Gonce, 29, of Cassopolis. Also in the vehicle was Angel Howard, 28, of Vandalia, Travis Gonce, 2, of Cassopolis and Shane Howard, 3, of Vandalia. Both of the children were in child seats. The victims were transported to Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac and Lakeland Hospital in Niles by Life Care and Coloma ambulance services. By 3 p.m. all were released except Amanda Gonce, who was transported to Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, where she remains in stable condition. Cassopolis and Penn Township fire departments assisted in extricating the passengers from the damaged vehicle.

It was determined that the vehicle used by the suspect was stolen on April 7 from Kalamazoo. In addition to these charges and charges of felony fleeing and eluding a police officer, evidence uncovered during this investigation led investigators to charge the suspect with attempted armed robbery as well. The subject is lodged in the Cass County Jail where he is awaiting arraignment on these charges. Once he is arraigned additional information will be released.

Assisting in this investigation were Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Ontwa Township-Edwardsburg Police, Cassopolis Police, Michigan State Police and investigators from the Cass County Drug Enforcement Team and Detective Bureau.