Operation 'Ghost Rider' in Michigan • Inside the lab cracking cold cases • More construction incoming
MONDAY NEWS HIT - A new police initiative dubbed "Operation Ghost Rider" will bump up officer efforts to crack down on distracted driving in Michigan.
The added surveillance for those on their phones and not paying attention to the road is in coordination with Michigan State Police and several local agencies across Metro Detroit.
With the goal of reducing distracted deaths and injuries, police will be using unmarked police vehicles. If they spot someone not obeying the law, they'll radio ahead to a fully marked police vehicle for the traffic stop.
There will also be $100 tickets handed out for anyone caught on their phones. There will be a $200 fine for each subsequent offense.
"Distracted driving continues to be a top traffic safety concern on our roads," said Jim Santilli, CEO of the Transportation Improvement Association. "We can save lives by simply keeping our eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times. We hope Operation Ghost Rider will further educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving."
According to state police, those using a hand-held device are four times more likely to get in a crash serious enough to cause an injury compared to someone who is not on their phone.
People texting are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash.
"Distracted driving crashes are 100 percent preventable. As drivers, we must do better," said MSP Lt. Mike Shaw. "We will continue to educate motorists and hope that personal accountability will help decrease distracted driving. But we also know enforcement is key."
Police agencies involved in the push include: Auburn Hills Police Department, Chesterfield Township Police Department, Clinton Township Police Department, Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, Shelby Township Police Department, Sterling Heights Police Department, Taylor Police Department, and Utica Police Department.
A look inside the DNA testing used to crack cold cases
Forty-seven-year-old Bertha Warren went missing on Aug. 16, 1981 after last being seen in her home in Romulus. Her body would later be discovered in a nearby forest - though the find would unleash more questions than answers, which would remain unknown for decades.
Now, the 42-year-old cold case is getting a fresh look. Authorities convened to give these investigations a second look are using the best technology around to help bring closure.
This Sumpter Township murder is what was on the minds of police as they opened up their Northville forensic crime lab to a closer look at how DNA is tested.
One officer told FOX 2 that the turnover for new technology means the capacity for solving old murders is already expanding.
Check out more crime stories here.
More construction incoming
Road work on I-275 continues to ramp up with construction coming to the interchange with I-94, as well as connecting ramps with Ford Road and Michigan Avenue.
The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to shut down eastbound Ford Road ramp onto I-275 through late July. There will also be ramp closures for two months at I-275 and I-94, which will being on May.
The governor also said that bridge repair work is also underway on I-96 in Clinton County, resurfacing in Kent County, , as well as rebuilding a portion of US-127.
For commuters using Woodward Avenue between Oakland and Wayne counties, be ready for quick stops and give yourself enough space to avoid crashing. The busy road is down to just two lanes.
Numerous changes coming to DDOT operations
The Detroit Department of Transportation is rolling out a bevy of changes to its operations today, which the city says will boost service and better align timetables with actual travel times.
Among the additional runs include morning and evening runs to multiple routes across the city. The changes to the schedule include trips to the Wayne County College District, earlier trips to routes 15, 18, 23, 27, 30, 31, 39, 41, 60, and 67.
Later trips include stops on routes 15, 27, 38, 39, 41, and 43.
"This is the first step toward offering additional service to our riders," said Mikel Oglesby, City of Detroit’s Executive Director of transit. "We especially wanted to improve service during school and work hours and reduce wait times in early morning and evening.
Woman leads police on multi-state chase from Ohio
A Monroe woman was arrested after fleeing police following an attempted traffic stop in Ohio. The chase ended shortly after the suspect drove through stopsticks deployed by sheriff's deputies, though the suspect continued trying to flee even after her tires had disintegrated.
The chase happened early Sunday morning around 1:30 a.m.
Monroe County Central Dispatch got a call from Washington Township in Ohio about a vehicle pursuit traveling north up I-75. According to police, the vehicle fled into Michigan before exiting into the town of Erie. After fleeing into Monroe Township, deputies caught up with the suspect before putting up road spikes to stop her.
After coming to a stop in a subdivision, the suspect refused to exit her vehicle. She then tried fleeing again when deputies tried breaking her window with a baton. She stopped a second time several hundred yards away, before being taken into custody. The woman, identified as a 36-year-old, was arrested and charged for fleeing and eluding, as well as operating while intoxicated.
Live on FOX 2
It's going to be a colder week than many would prefer. Temperatures won't break 60 degrees until the weekend, and even then it won't get beyond that until next week.
What else we're watching
- Where do the Detroit Lions go from here? The first ruffle in what's been a productive off-season arrived last week when two players were dismissed from the team and two others were suspended for sports betting. It doesn't change too much of the team's makeup, but it could mean a different approach to draft this week.
- A Chick-Fil-A restaurant is coming to Midtown in Detroit.
- The Livingston County Board of Commissioners appears likely to sign a resolution announcing it won't enforce a newly-approved gun safety bill that would allow for extreme risk protection orders being used in the removal of firearms from a home.
- Gas prices fell another 9 cents from a week ago, though the price for a gallon is still at $3.62 a gallon.
- What is the attorney general's opinion on alcohol being sold at universities? What about assault weapons being banned? She's clear on the second question, but not so much the first. A fuller report will come later Monday from FOX 2's Tim Skubick.
One every 6.53 days: US on record pace for mass killings
The U.S. is setting a record pace for mass killings in 2023, replaying the horror on a loop roughly once a week so far this year.
The carnage has taken 88 lives in 17 mass killings over 111 days. Each time, the killers wielded firearms. Only 2009 was marked by as many such tragedies in the same period of time.
Children at a Nashville grade school, gunned down on an ordinary Monday. Farmworkers in Northern California, sprayed with bullets over a workplace grudge. Dancers at a ballroom outside Los Angeles, massacred as they celebrated the Lunar New Year.