MANCELONA – Police are currently in a standoff south of Mancelona with a man accused of throwing hot coffee in the face of a Petoskey public safety officer Thursday.
Speaking to the News-Review around 10:45 a.m. Thursday, Petoskey Department of Public Safety Director Matthew Breed said the incident began shortly before 8:30 a.m. when an officer was responding to a driving complaint.
Breed said dispatchers at 911 had aired a “be on the lookout” advisory for a pickup truck that was driving erratically. He said an officer located a vehicle that matched the description of the truck in the driving complaint parked at the BP gas station on Spring Street, just south of U.S. 31/Charlevoix Avenue.
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Breed said when the officer made contact with the driver of the vehicle, the driver was uncooperative and acted as if he was about to drive away. He said the officer told the man he was not free to leave yet and as the man attempted to drive away, the officer reached through the window and attempted to shut off the vehicle. Breed said as the officer reached in, the driver threw hot coffee he had just purchased at the gas station in the face of the officer and drove away.
Breed said at about the same time a second officer was arriving on the scene and saw the suspect vehicle leaving. As the vehicle was leaving the second officer noted that there was a child in the vehicle, he said.
Breed said both officers pursued the suspect vehicle south on U.S. 131, at speeds he described as “moderate.” Petoskey officers called off the chase shortly after entering Charlevoix County, noting that the officers believed had a good idea of suspect’s identity at that time.
A short time later a Michigan State Police Trooper saw the suspect vehicle on U.S. 131 in Charlevoix County and again began following it, Breed said.
In a 10:30 a.m. social media post, Michigan State Police officials noted that they are in a standoff with the suspect near Mancelona.
State police officials further noted in a follow-up post: “The suspect has several children in the vehicle with him and is not communicating with police. He is calling news outlets.”
Breed said the officer who had the coffee thrown on him was taken to McLaren Northern Michigan hospital to be evaluated. Breed said he was treated for first degree burns on his face and released.