Area public safety offices respond to several crashes during Memorial Day weekend

Published 10:05 am Sunday, May 26, 2019

Man operating under influence jailed following serious traffic crash

WATERVLIET — Three people were injured and one was arrested following a traffic collision while leaving a car show in Watervliet Saturday, according to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.

Police say there was heavy traffic where the accident occurred at M-140 and Dan Smith Road due to a car show at Lane Automotive that had recently ended.

Lawrence Hamilton, of Buchanan, had just left the show in a 1968 Pontiac GTO and was southbound on M-140 when a Chrysler 300 headed west on Dan Smith Road pulled into his path.

The Chrysler, driven by Jason Starampel, of Breedsville, Michigan, took advantage of a gap provided in heavy traffic to cross over M-140, but failed to yield for the GTO, which caused the collision.

Doris Hamilton, the front seat passenger of the GTO, was airlifted to Bronson Hospital for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Lawrence Hamilton and his daughter, Ashley Ferrell (the backseat passenger of the GTO), were transported to Spectrum Lakeland for leg and rib injuries.

Starampel and his four passengers were all treated and released for minor bumps and bruises.

Starampel was booked at the Berrien County Jail for several charges, including operating a vehicle while under the influence causing serious injury, possession of narcotics and child endangerment.


Three injured in LaGrange Township crash

LAGRANGE TOWNSHIP — Three people, including a 7-year-old, were injured in a two-vehicle crash Friday afternoon, according to the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.

The department was called to Dailey Raod and Peavine Street at 5:03 p.m. Friday.

Sharon Kay Hansell, 79, of Niles, was eastbound on Peavine when she failed to stop at the signed intersection, colliding with a northbound vehicle driven by Vicki Dixon, 35, of Dowagiac.

Dixon and her passenger, a 7-year-old, were transported by ambulance to Borgess Lee Hospital for treatment.

Hansell was transported by ambulance to Lakeland Hospital in Niles.

Seatbelts were used and alcohol does not appear to be a factor. The case remains under investigation.

Pokagon Tribal Police, Cassopolis Fire Department, Wayne Township Fire, Life Care Ambulance and Pride Care Ambulance all assisted at the scene.


Motorcyclist seriously injured on I-94

NEW BUFFALO TOWNSHIP — A Shelby, Indiana man sustained life-threatening injuries in a motorcycle accident in New Buffalo Township Saturday afternoon, according to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.

Emergency response units responded to the exit 4 off ramp on I-94 to US-12 toward Niles at 6:36 p.m. Saturday, where they found a motorcycle driver to be unconscious.

Witnesses reported that the motorcyclist, Daniel Francis, 53, of Shelby, Indiana, appeared to be going too fast to negotiate the sharp curve of the exit. The motorcycle ran off the roadway and crashed in a ditch, ejecting Francis from the bike.

Francis sustained serious, life-threatening injuries and was transported to Spectrum Lakeland of St. Joseph. He was the only passenger on the motorcycle, and he was not wearing a helmet.

The crash remains under investigation.