Berrien County deputy pursuit leads to fatal crash

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

SOUTH BEND — A suspect who was allegedly fleeing Berrien County police was involved in a fatal crash across state lines Tuesday.

The crash, which occurred around 4 p.m. Tuesday, took place at Indiana 933 and Darden Road – about 2 miles from the Michigan-Indiana border.

With a Berrien County deputy in pursuit, a Chevy TrailBlazer crashed into the side of a pickup truck that was being driven by a 62-year-old South Bend man. The driver of the pickup truck, Andre Northern, died at the scene.

The Fact Alcohol Crash Team, also known as FACT, was assigned to investigate the crash and how the pursuit began. FACT detectives learned Berrien County Sheriff Deputy Matthew Walls spotted the TrailBlazer about 1.5 miles north of the Indiana border.

Walls had been informed the vehicle was reported stolen.

According to a news release from the South Bend County Prosecutor’s Office, Walls activated his overhead lights and siren, while still in Michigan, in an attempt to stop the vehicle. The TrailBlazer then fled south, crossing into St. Joseph County in Indiana, where the TrailBlazer eventually crashed into the pickup truck.

The impact was so severe that the pickup truck split in half.

Responders learned there were four people in the TrailBlazer, who were removed by emergency personnel. They were then moved to Memorial Hospital of South Bend for serious injuries.

Two of the occupants remain in intensive care, but are in a stable condition. All four are believed to be from Niles.

Three other vehicles were damaged in the crash, but no one in those vehicles were seriously injured.

The investigation is ongoing as FACT detectives are working with the prosecutor’s office. The news release stated that a decision on whether to press charges will be made Thursday.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Feb. 23, 2017)


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