Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office announces no charges in fatal crash on M-140

BERRIEN COUNTY — Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sepic, with the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office, has announced no charges will be filed relating to the fatal crash that occurred at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16.

At that time, a Pokagon Tribal Police Department squad car was answering a dispatch to a Cass County location for an in-progress domestic violence call.  The squad car headed southbound on M-140 from the City of Watervliet. The squad’s siren and overhead lights were activated and travelling at 84 miles per hour as it approached Territorial Road in Bainbridge Township.  M-140 traffic has the right of way at that intersection. 

A 2009 Lincoln MKS was travelling eastbound on Territorial Road but did not heed the stop sign for Territorial traffic at that intersection. The driver of the Lincoln, Sherry Temple, 69, of Stevensville, did not survive the collision. The Lincoln was travelling at 57 miles per hour at impact.  Neither alcohol nor drugs were a factor in the crash.

Two Pokagon Tribal Police Department officers, both of whom are recovering from their injuries, occupied the Pokagon Tribal Police squad car.

The law exempts the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from speed limitations if the driver is answering an emergency call and a siren and emergency lights are activated.

Squad car video reveals that the driver of the squad car was acting reasonably and responsibly during the 5-mile route, adjusting speed and siren tones as he engaged traffic.

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