Michigan scales back license suspensions, Detroit police sued over man's shooting, North Pole Express back on

Starting Oct. 1, Michigan will no longer suspend a person's driver's license for non-driving-related issues like missed court appointments and some traffic violations which will now count as civil infractions, making them ineligible for arrests and jail time.

Additionally, a package of new laws that passed the legislature in 2020 will remove infractions from some 73,000 Michigan drivers. Approximately half of those people will get their license back immediately. 

The scaling back of license suspensions follows a bipartisan-endorsed series of bills recommended by the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration.

Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian), the lead sponsor on the bill said despite Michigan being the home of automobiles, "We've created all these unnecessary barriers that prevent people from driving: high insurance rates, driver responsibility fees, and license suspensions for unpaid tickets. In Michigan, people need to drive to work, and the legislature is taking huge steps now to make that possible."

According to the Michigan Department of State, letters will be sent to impacted residents, explaining if they'll have infractions removed or if they'll get their license back immediately. The following violations will no longer count toward suspending someone's driver's license:

  • Open Intoxicants in Vehicle
  • Open Intoxicants in Vehicle (Passenger)
  • Person Under 21 Transport/Possess in Vehicle
  • Person Under 21 Transport/Possess in Vehicle (Passenger)
  • MIP (Person Under 21 Purchase/Consume/Possess Liquor)
  • Failure to Comply with Civil Infraction
  • Person Under 21 Used Fraudulent ID to Purchase Liquor
  • Sold/Furnished Alcoholic Liquor to a Person Under 21
  • MIP (Person Under 21 Purchase/Consume/Possess Liquor)
  • Felonious Driving
  • Controlled Substance
  • False Report or Threat of Bomb/Harmful Device (School)
  • Holds placed on licenses for unpaid parking tickets will also be lifted

The Department of State warns that these infractions will still appear on one's driving record, despite it not contributing to the suspension of one.

"When the Task Force looked at data across the state, we expected to see people in jail for assault or robbery," said Chief Justice Bridget McCormack who co-chaired the task force, "But what we found was tens of thousands of people getting locked up for driving on a suspended license. That’s not what jail is for, nor is it what taxpayers expect from an efficient justice system. These reforms are helping the justice system be more effective and helping people to stay in the workforce."

A release from the state said about 350,000 Michigan residents had their driver's license suspended for minor court or fine infractions. Those that continue to drive with a suspended license face jail time and worse punishment. 

The task force found that driving without a valid license was the third most common reason for jail admission in the state.

Learn more www.Michigan.gov/SOSCleanSlate

Whitmer grilled after Ford takes EV plant plans out of state

For the second day in a row Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is playing defense on why the state of Michigan did not make a bid on the new Ford Motor Company electric car plants totaling $11 billion. Those 11,000 jobs are now headed to Tennessee and Kentucky -- and Republicans are blaming the governor.

"She doesn't get any marks on this one. There's a zero here. This is a goose egg," said State Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth).

But Whitmer said Ford did not even look at Michigan in selecting ready-made sights in Tennessee and Kentucky, arguing the state never had a "real opportunity" to bid. "This legislature is unprepared, the governor is unprepared, the state's MEDC is unprepared," Horn said. "We are not ready for prime time."

Ford's newest EV announcement excited a lot of people pushing for the electrification of America's automobiles. But lawmakers are upset that Michigan missed out on another opportunity for jobs and investment, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of economic-focused people. The mega campus will be called Blue Oval City.

Detroit police sued over fatal shooting of man who hit unmarked police vehicle

A lawsuit filed against the Detroit Police Department contradicts the official report given by officers after a man who was doing donuts in his car before striking an unmarked police vehicle was shot dead by a deputy. 

According to police, Michael Adams pointed a gun at an officer after the crash, prompting them to shoot him. But the plaintiff's attorney says that's not what happened. "I know my guy didn't do anything, he was murdered," said David Robinson. 

Adams and three of his friends had stolen a Dodge Charger on Aug. 8 and were driving it to Grand Boulevard and Milwaukee when the driver lost control of the vehicle and struck an unmarked police car. But that's where the stories differ. Chief James White said the suspect removed a weapon and produced a gun. But Robinson says police haven't shown any proof. 

The officer that shot had struck Adams three times. Robinson, who is representing Adams' family, is looking for $20 million. The officers involved are not yet back on duty. Detroit police declined to comment and the prosecutor's office has not yet reviewed the case but likely will. 

North Pole Express tickets on sale Friday

The annual trip aboard the North Pole Express in Michigan is back on for 2021! The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) to put the 2020 North Pole Express on the sidetracks but that's changing for the 2021 holiday season as the North Pole Express returns.

The SRI announced on Thursday that it would be bringing back to the North Pole Express with trips starting on November 20 and continuing every Saturday and Sunday until the weekend before Christmas. The one-hour and fifteen-minute train ride leaves from Owosso stops in the Village of Ashley for a two-hour Christmas party. It then returns with another one-hour and fifteen-minute train ride home.

With the purchase of a ticket, you get live entertainment, your picture taken in front of the 1225 engine, and meet Santa Claus himself. The first rides will run on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The following day, Sunday, Nov. 21, rides will run at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. After that, the express will run every weekend at the same times through Dec. 19.

Tickets for the 2021 North Pole Express will go for sale at 10 am on Friday, Oct. 1. You better move fast if you want tickets though as they sell out quickly! Check out the website here to get your tickets.

Men arrested after theft of vehicles worth $329K

The Oakland County Sheriff said it has arrested four people, including a 15-year-old, connected to the theft of four Dodge vehicles from a Highland Township dealership worth over $329,000.

According to the sheriff, the four cars - a white 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat SRT, a black 2021 Dodge Durango GT, a black 2021 Dodge Ram TRX, a black and 2017 Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT - were all stolen from Scott Dodge in Highland Township on Wednesday, two of which were driven off the showroom floor and through a glass door wall.

When police caught up to three men in the 2021 Durango Hellcat, which is valued at about $100,000, the driver crashed into a brick wall. Three men, ages 32, 20, and 19, were all arrested without incident are being held in the Oakland County Jail. A 15-year-old brother of one of the suspects was arrested later in Detroit. According to police, the three men in the SUV did not steal it from the dealership but paid the thieves $5,000 cash for the SUV.

Inside the SUV, police found $5,800 in hundreds and twenties, a loaded semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine, and a computer device to reprogram key fobs. They admitted to paying $5,000 for the Durango. The other cars were all recovered and detectives are still working to identify the suspects who actually stole the cars.

What else we're watching

  1. Merck, a pharmaceutical company that's produced an antiviral coronavirus drug, will seek approval from the FDA for its medication. The treatment reportedly cut hospitalizations and deaths linked to the virus in half, according to trials.
  2. Michigan State Police say a 35-year-old Detroit man was shot in the mouth while traveling on M-10. Two other rounds struck the driver's side door. Police say the shooting wasn't random. 
  3. Rivertown Market, a new neighborhood grocery store concept, will host a preview opening today ahead of the grand opening of the 42,000-square foot in downtown Detroit next Wednesday. 
  4. The Chaldean Community Foundation will break ground on a $25 million affordable housing project in Sterling Heights today. The three-acre lot will have 135 apartment units as well as commercial space. 
  5. The American Speed Festival in Pontiac is well underway at the M1 Concourse near Woodward. The celebration of speed will honor drivers, designers, and cars. 

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Michigan's perfect week of weather is about to conclude and not just because it's Friday. The states improbable string of dry sunny days will likely end this weekend with rain expected Saturday night and Sunday. Temperatures should hang around the 70s tonight.

Shakira and son attacked by wild boars: 'They’ve destroyed everything'

Shakira revealed that she and her son were attacked by a pair of wild boars while on a recent Spanish holiday. The 44-year-old singer recounted the ordeal, that took place at an unnamed park near Barcelona, in a series of Instagram Stories shared Wednesday.

"They've destroyed everything," Shakira said in the clip, which does not show the "Hips Don't Lie" singer's face.

"Look at how two wild boars which attacked me in the park have left my bag," she added, while showing off her dusty purse. "They were taking my bag to the woods with my mobile phone in it."

Shakira admitted she put up a fight to keep the purse.