Local News Archives for 2022-07

UPDATE: Car strikes group of bicyclists in Ionia County

The Ionia County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the tragic accident that resulted in the death of two bicyclists and injuries to three others. The investigation shows that Mandy Marie Benn, 42 Ionia was traveling north bound on Stage Rd.  A UPS truck that was traveling north bound in front of Benn began slowing down to stop.  Benn moved into the south bound lane to go around the UPS truck and into the path of the group of bicyclists.  It does not appear that Benn saw the on coming bicyclists prior to impact.  This incident took place on a straight roadway with no vision obstructions and was not intersection related. 


Mandy Benn was arraigned in the 64A District Court in front of Judge Vote on the following charges:


Two counts of Operating while intoxicated causing death/Operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance– 15-year felony

One count of Operating while Intoxicated/ Operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance – 93-day misdemeanor

Second Offence Notice Operating while Intoxicated – 1 year misdemeanor


Benn is being held on a 1,000,000 cash/surety bond at the Ionia County Jail.


The decedents in this case have been identified as Edward Erickson, 48, of Ann Arbor, MI and Michael Salhaney, 57, of Bloomfield Hills, MI.


The other three victims of this horrific crash are receiving continued medical care or have received medical treatment at various hospitals around lower Michigan.  One of the victims is in serious but stable condition at last check and is expected to recover.  The other two victims were treated and released from the hospital.  Their names are not being released at this time. 


Original news release:


On Saturday, July 30, 2022 at 11:15am, Ionia County Central Dispatch received a 911 call about a car that had run into a group of bicyclists in the 3000 block of Stage Rd of Ronald Township in Ionia County.

Ionia County Sheriff’s Deputies, MSP Lakeview Troopers, Ionia Department of Public Safety Officers, Lyons/Muir Fire Department, Ronald Township Fire Department, LIFE EMS, and Aero Med were all deployed to the scene, and it was immediately discovered to be a vehicular mass-casualty incident.

Investigation at the scene determined that 5 cyclists had been struck while they were cycling south bound on Stage Rd by a northbound SUV that crossed the center line into northbound traffic while trying to pass another vehicle.

The impact caused critical injuries to all the cyclists, and emergency responders worked diligently to preserve the lives of the victims. Unfortunately, one cyclist was immediately pronounced deceased at the scene. Another cyclist was flown by Aero Med to Spectrum Butterworth in Grand Rapids, MI, but also died from his injuries.

Two other cyclists were transported by LIFE EMS to Sparrow Ionia Hospital, and the 5th cyclist was transported by LIFE EMS to Spectrum Butterworth. All three of the surviving cyclists had severe injuries.

The driver of the vehicle which struck the bicyclists was evaluated and arrested for two counts of Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death, and after receiving medical treatment was lodged at the Ionia County Jail. That driver’s name will not be released pending formal charges and arraignment.

The cyclists are not being named at this time, with ongoing efforts to ensure their family members are given ample opportunity for notification of death or injury. All 5 of the cyclists are men, and all are from the east side of the state. All five of the men were participating in the Make a Wish Bicycle Tour, a three day endurance ride covering most of the State of Michigan.

Further information will not be released at this time, more information may be released early next week as the investigation continues.

National Night Out


This coming Tuesday August 2nd National Nigh Out will be held at Tyden Park in Hastings. This event is for everyone to come and have some fun, meet law enforcemnt and emergency services personnel.  Enjoy the many activities from 5 to 8-pm. This is  a perfect time for individuals and law enforcement to get together and help in keeping Barry County a great place to live, work, and play.

Fatal Car Accident - Allegan County

Deputies from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office responded to a personal injury crash on 21st Street south of 102nd Ave in Otsego Township around 9:30 Thursday morning.  Upon arrival Deputies found a car upside down in the river submerged in water.  Two deputies along with two members of the Otsego Fire Department went in to the water and were able to remove the driver from the vehicle and get him to shore. 


The driver, 76 year old Thomas Tamandl of South Haven, was transported in critical condition to Borgess Hospital where he died from injuries sustained in the crash. 

Deputies believe Tamandl's car was traveling south on 21st street and lost control in a curve before going in to the river.  


The Allegan County Sheriff Office was assisted by the Plainwell Department of Public Safety, Otsego Police Department, Otsego Fire Department and Plainwell EMS.



Strong Thunderstorms  heavy rain and strong winds knocked out electric service to Consumers Energy  Customers in West Michigan from 11-pm Saturday night to 4-am Sunday morning.  963 Barry County customers are out of electric service.

The Hastings National Weather Service Climotological Station is reporting 1.63 inches of rain from the storms.

Fatal crash near Ionia

Approximately 9:09 am Thursday, first responders and Deputies with the
Ionia County Sheriff’s Office responded to a single car rollover on Haynor Road. 
A 2006 Chevrolet Equinox driven by a 24 year old female from Orleans, was east bound on Haynor when it left the roadway at a curve, overturned and struck a tree,
ejecting a 25 year old male passenger from Portland. He was pronounced dead at the scene. There was also a 7 year old male passenger who sustained minor injuries. The female driver and 7 year old passenger were transported to Sparrow Ionia Hospital.


Names have not been released. The accident remains under investigation by the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office Accident Investigators unit. Assisting at the scene were Ionia Department of Public Safety, Life Ambulance, and Reed & Hoppes Towing.


Stabbing Incident - Middleville

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a stabbing that occurred in the Village of Middleville on Wednesday, July 20.  The victim is a 49 year old male, while the suspect is a 44 year old female. The victim and suspect are husband and wife. They reside together in Middleville. The husband was transported to an area hospital for treatment, while the wife was arrested and is currently lodged at the Barry County Jail awaiting arraignment.


This was an isolated incident and there is no threat to the public.

Three More Individuals arrested in the Murder of an 18 year old Woman

The Barry County Prosecutor's office Wednesday charged Duston Stephens of Nashville,  Coleen Rice of Hastings and Sheralyn Randolf of Nashville for allegedly helping Andrew Lafey  after he murdered 18 year old Grayclyn Brickley in February 2021.


Grayclyn Brickley's body was found near a home on Guy road in Maple Grove Township.


Andrew Lafey was convicted of first degree premeditated murder in the death of Graclyn Brickley.   He was sentenced to  life in prison.


The charges against Stephens, Rice, and Randolf include Tampering with Evidence and Accessory After the Fact to a Felony.  Stephens is also charged with Perjury in a Capital Trial and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.


Probable Cause hearings are set for August 3rd.

Hastings man arrested in Ionia Co. on multiple charges

On July 14th, 2022, at approximately 11:23 p.m., a resident of Boston Township in Ionia County was alerted by his security camera that there was a vehicle parked behind his residence. The homeowner was at work at the time and contacted Ionia County Central Dispatch.


A deputy with the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call and upon arrival at the residence a black Dodge Durango fled from the rear of the home. The deputy was able to pursue but lost sight of the vehicle. He later found the Durango unoccupied and crashed into a swamp. The Deputy learned that the
vehicle was stolen out of Battle Creek and had stolen property inside. a firearm was also located at the crash scene.


The Sheriff’s Office deployed their K-9 unit and requested assistance from the Kent
County Sheriff’s Office who sent a drone team to assist in the search.  K-9 "Bafi" was able to track to an address in Campbell Twp approximately 3 ½ miles from the crash scene where the suspect was discovered hiding under a truck in a garage.


The suspect fled again, but was quickly apprehended. He was later identified as Michael David Hancock, 45 from Hastings. Hancock was lodged at the Ionia County Jail and was arraigned on July 15th on 14 criminal offenses including:


Home invasion, breaking and entering a building, receiving and concealing stolen
property, fleeing and eluding, resist and obstruct, possession of a hallucinogen, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.


Assisting the Sheriff’s Office were Ionia County Central Dispatch, Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Barry County Sheriff’s Office, and Reed & Hoppes Towing.


Hancock is being held at the Ionia County Jail on a $150,000 cash or surety bond.

Murder suspect turned over to Eaton County Authorities

On Friday, July 8, 2022, Eaton County Deputies took custody of Beverly McCallum at the Grand Rapids Gerald R. Ford International Airport.  McCallum has been in custody since February 2020 in Rome, Italy, for pending Murder-related charges. 


The United States Marshall’s Service Western District of Michigan, the Eaton County Prosecutor’s Office, authorities in Rome, Italy, and the Gerald R. Ford Airport Police Department  assisted in extraditing McCallum to Eaton County.


McCallum has been arraigned in front of the Honorable Judge K. Morton on the following charges:


  1. Second Degree Murder
  2. Disinterment/mutilation of a body


McCallum is the last defendant to be charged in the “Jack in the Box” cold case.

Bond has been set at $10 million dollars.


Her next court appearance is July 22nd, 2022.


Rep. Calley announces funding for recreational projects in Yankee Springs & Ionia County

State Rep. Julie Calley and the Michigan Legislature recently approved funding for two projects at Yankee Springs Recreation Area in Barry County, as well as improvements to parks and trails in Ionia and Saranac and the expansion of the Portland State Game Area.


The funding was included in recommendations from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and approved with overwhelming support by the House and Senate last week. The measure is awaiting consideration from Gov. Whitmer.


A $120,000 investment will replace the popular fishing pier at the Gun Lake day-use area. The existing pier has exceeded its useful life.

The measure also includes $50,000 to replace the stone beach wall on Gun Lake in front of the renovated pavilion.


A $300,000 development project will renovate 3.2 miles of the Fred Thwaites Grand River Trail along the Grand River. The trail serves as a vital connection between Ionia’s commercial district, neighborhoods, Riverside Park, and the Ionia Free Fair Grounds.


In the village of Saranac, a $300,000 investment will enhance Scheid Park, a 15.6-acre neighborhood park along the Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail Trail.


A $350,000 investment will purchase 66 acres of land to expand the Portland State Game Area. The property will provide wildlife habitat conservation, land consolidation, and additional recreational opportunities such as hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and fishing.


Funding for each of the projects is part of Senate Bill 1028, which includes $45.6 million for 22 land acquisition and 95 recreational development projects throughout the state with revenues from the Natural Resources Trust Fund. The fund’s board approved the projects in December 2021.


Money in the Natural Resources Trust Fund comes from the development of minerals on state land – not general tax money – and is distributed on an annual basis in partnership with local governments. The money must be used for acquisition or recreational development projects, according to the Michigan Constitution.

Ribbon Cutting Friday for Harvest Pointe opening at Thornapple Manor

Thornapple Manor will hold a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony this Friday, July 8 at 2:00pm for Harvest Pointe on the Thornapple Manor campus, 2950 McKeown Rd. 


The new $14-million dollar Assisted Living facility and program features studio, one bedroom, and one bedroom deluxe accommodations with daily amenities, wellness activities with on-site therapy and rehabilitation services, and cultural outings. Residents will enjoy restaurant-style and on-demand dining that is catered to their individual needs and preferences, prepared by a resident on-site executive chef.


Construction has been underway since the groundbreaking in May, 2021, bringing another much needed senior housing option to Barry County.



Fatal House Fire - Barry Township update






The Barry County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a house fire at 10575 Kingsbury Road near Delton in Barry Township that occurred around 4:18am Tuesday morning.


16 year old Kayla Casey a female was found deceased in the basement. The fire was believed to have started by burning candles after the house lost power.


The incident remains under investigation.


Assisting agencies were Barry County Central Dispatch, Delton Fire Dep., Hickory Corners Fire Dept., Prairieville Fire Dept., Hastings Fire Dept., Johnstown Fire Dept., Mercy EMS, MSP Fire Marshall and The Red Cross


UPDATE: Police searching for Missing Person

Update: ***Missing Person Kristen Lynn Neeson has been located and was found to be safe. ***


The Barry County Sheriff’s Office is asking for assistance in locating a missing person. Kirsten Lynn Neeson, 26 years old, was last seen on 06/24/2022 around 7:45-8:00 PM by her brother in-law in Kent County, leaving her sister’s home.

On 06/27/2022, Kirsten’s sister contacted law enforcement reporting Kirsten never arrived at her intended destination in Grand Rapids and has not been seen since 6/24/2022.

Kirsten does not have a vehicle and it is unknown what she was last wearing.

If seen or located please contact the Barry County Sheriff’s Office (269-948-4801) or Barry County Central Dispatch (269-948-4800).

Storms Power Outages

 Thunderstorms packing high winds and rain during the night knocked out electric service in a number of locations  across west michigan.


Consumers energy is reporting


Allegan County    510

Barry County       856

Calhoun County 3,336

ionia County       204

Kent County       1,425

UPDATE:Drowning at Little Pine Lake in Hope Township



***On Sunday at 3:23 PM, Richard Bryan Card was located in 26 feet of water in Little Pine Lake in Hope Township with the assistance from Great Lakes Drone, Great Lakes Search and Rescue and the Kalamazoo County Dive Team.***


The Barry County Sheriff’s Office responded to Little Pine Lake in Hope Township. A 37 year old male was swimming from a paddleboat when he went under water and did not resurface. At this time, the search for the victim is still underway. The name of the victim is being withheld, pending notification of relatives.


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