Niles resident who fled from police sentenced

NILES — A Niles man who ran from police despite their attempts to stop him will face prison time for the crime.

Dustin Jason Lamont Jones, 22, of the 900 block of Oak Street, pleaded guilty Nov. 7 to resisting and obstructing a police officer.

Berrien County Trial Court Judge Charles LaSata sentenced Lamont Jones to a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 36 months in prison, though if he completes a boot camp program he could be released in 120 days. Jones has credit for 56 days served. He was also ordered to pay $198 in fines and costs.

The incident that led to Jones’ arrest occurred Oct. 29, when officers from the Niles Police Department were dispatched to 921 Oak St. for the report of a disturbance.

When police arrived at the residence, Jones fled. Officers were told that Jones had a warrant out for his arrest. Police spotted him walking along Ninth and Oak streets. According to court records, Jones was asked by an officer to “come here” and told he was under arrest. Jones then ran south on Ninth Street. An officer used a stun gun to stop him and he was taken into custody.

Defense attorney Scott Sanford said his client had been making efforts to improve his life, including earning his GED while he was serving time in jail.

“He really wants to go in the right direction. He has good work history,” Sanford said. “He just needs some life skills.”

When given the opportunity to speak, Jones sought to own up to his actions.

“I want to apologize,” Jones said. “I take responsibility for what I have done. I know that I made a mistake. I understand that it is not OK to run from the police.”

LaSata was critical of Jones’ criminal record.

“You have multiple [resisting and obstruction an officer charges]. You have a terrible juvenile record. It’s assaultive,” LaSata said.

LaSata said he felt Jones would be an ideal candidate for a boot camp program, though Sanford said a warrant for Jones’ arrest in St. Joseph County might disqualify him.

“[That’s] all the more reason you need to go to boot camp and then prison, sir,” LaSata said. “This is ridiculous. You have miserable record.”

With the boot camp sentence, LaSata said Jones would spend 30 days in prison, before going to a 90-day boot camp. After completing the boot camp sentence, he said Jones could be out in 120 days if he cooperates.

“You are a disaster waiting to happen, unless we turn you around 180 degrees,” LaSata said. “I think that boot camp can do that with a 22-year-old man like you.”

What’s Boot Camp?

Boot camp is part of the state’s Special Alternative Incarceration facility. It includes a highly-disciplined 90-day regimen with military exercises, while also teaching job-seeking skills. To learn more, visit michigan.gov.

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