St. Joseph County Fleeing and Eluding Charges

Fleeing and Eluding Charges Follow High Speed Police Chase

Jessica Mae Utter, a 31-year-old resident of Elkhart, Indiana was recently arrested after leading police on a high speed chase through three townships. She is now facing fleeing and eluding charges here in Michigan, where the courts do not tend to look kindly on people who flee from the police.

According to court records, the incident began just before 12:30 am on a Wednesday morning in St. Joseph County. An officer from the Three Rivers Police Department attempted to pull Utters over for what was described in police records as “hazardous driving action.”

But Utter, who was on parole for a drug violation in Indiana, didn’t want to get caught by police. She drove away from the officer at high speed, first on Constantine Street, then turning onto Featherstone Road and heading towards Centerville.

Once the chase left the jurisdiction of the Three Rivers Police Department, deputies from the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department assumed the pursuit, and the Michigan State Police also became involved.

Utter used back roads, looping around onto M-60 and heading back into the city of Three Rivers. But she was only there briefly, using Hoffman road to go back out of the city, where she was seen running a red light while heading for US-131.

Police were quite concerned at this point, because the fog was very dense and visibility was greatly reduced. During the pursuit Utter reached speeds of almost 100 miles per hour, which in heavy fog can be very dangerous.

Thankfully, no one was harmed. Officers used stop sticks near an intersection to slow Utter’s vehicle. After her vehicle came to a full stop, Utter is said to have leapt from the car and fled on foot into a wooded area near the county line of Cass County.

Officers found her very quickly, however, and she was immediately arrested. She has been charged with fleeing and eluding police, which under Michigan law is a felony. Because in this case Utter’s fleeing and eluding did not result in bodily harm to anyone, and didn’t cause a collision, it is likely that her charge is for fourth degree fleeing and eluding. If so, she is looking at up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

Utter was granted a bond of $15,000 cash/surety. However no information is available regarding whether or not she has posted bail yet.

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