Fleeing Drunk Driver Caught By K-9 Officer

A Michigan man is facing charges after a recent encounter with a Michigan State Police Officer in Sherwood Township, Michigan. It was just after 11 pm in Branch County, when MSP Trooper Robert Hearst tried to pull Lawrence Demarest III over. Demarest’s pickup truck allegedly had a loud muffler, which is against the law in Michigan according to MVC 257.707a-e.


State law says that you cannot drive a vehicle that “has a defect in the exhaust system which affects sound reduction, is not equipped with a muffler or other noise dissipative device, or is equipped with a cutout, bypass, amplifier, or a similar device.” But while a loud exhaust will usually result in a “fix it” ticket, what happened after Trooper Hearst put on his lights and siren that resulted in the additional charges.


According to State Police records, Demarest attempted to flee from the pursuing trooper, driving away at high speed into Calhoun County, Michigan. Demarest is alleged to have maintained his high speed for about 10 miles on the road before veering off into a farmer’s field in an effort to lose the State Trooper chasing him. Guess who won that race?


Demarest, who was said to have been drinking beer while he was driving, drove through several fields before finally stopping his truck, jumping out and then running away into the woods. Trooper Hearst called for backup and soon several other police officers were involved in the search, including additional Michigan State Police Troopers, one of whom was a K-9 unit, and also an officer from Union City, MI.


It was the K-9 officer that finally located Dermarest. He was then arrested and transported to Community Health Center to have his minor injuries attended to. After that he was taken to the Branch County Jail, where he is being held. His bond was set at $50,000, but as of now, it has not been posted.


Police records show that Demarest’s blood alcohol count (BAC) was .24, which means that he falls within the “super drunk” range under Michigan law, although he will not be charged  for super drunk driving at this time. In Michigan, having a BAC of .24 is triple the legal limit. Instead, Demarest has been charged with Fleeing and Eluding Police, which is a five year felony. He is also charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), second offense, and Open Intoxicant for having an open beer in his vehicle.

Demarest appeared before Branch County District Court Judge Brent Weigel, where his charges were read by the court. Due to 2003 felony conviction for Home Invasion, Demarest will be charged as a habitual offender. The will enhance his sentence if he is convicted. His next court date is scheduled for June 7, 2016.

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