wdiv logo

10 most-read All About Ann Arbor stories of 2020 that weren’t COVID related

The Juneteenth March for Change drew hundreds to the Diag on the University of Michigan's downtown Ann Arbor campus.
The Juneteenth March for Change drew hundreds to the Diag on the University of Michigan's downtown Ann Arbor campus. (Sarah M. Parlette)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It’s been a long year.

Between a global pandemic, protests, marches, social unrest, businesses opening and closing, a major U.S. election, local elections and everything else the year has thrown at us, it has not been a slow news year.

And you’ve joined us every step of the way.

We’re taking a look at the most-read stories on All About Ann Arbor this year, minus COVID-19 related coverage (because we’re making another list for that).

1. Driver killed, passenger extracted after car vaults from ditch into Ann Arbor Walgreens

From December: On Dec. 24, an 82-year-old Ann Arbor man was killed when the car he was driving “vaulted” from a ditch into a Walgreens in Ann Arbor.

The man was killed and an injured passenger, a 77-year-old Ann Arbor woman who was “significantly pinned” in the vehicle was extracted after 45 minutes. (More here.)

2. Video shows ‘super drunk’ Rep. Rebekah Warren hitting guardrail, failing sobriety tests, police say

From January: Dashcam video from Auburn Hills police shows an alleged “super drunk” Michigan state Rep. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) crashing into an I-75 guardrail and failing sobriety tests.

After attempting sobriety tests, answering questions from police, and refusing a preliminary breath test, Warren was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, handcuffed and searched. (More here.)

3. Ann Arbor man arrested for shooting person in face near Briarwood Mall, police say

From February: Justin Anthony Heinze, 28, was accused of shooting a 25-year-old Belleville resident in the face at an apartment complex near Briarwood Mall.

Police said that he was arrested by SWAT team members after a standoff and charged with assault with intent to commit murder, four counts of felon in possession of a firearm and three counts of resisting arrest. (More here.)

4. Ypsilanti mayor resigns: ‘I am deeply sorry to have my service end on this note’

From June: Former Ypsilanti Mayor Beth Bashert resigned from her position after saying that she would be “crucified if I vote against any Black person on any commission, I’m going to vote ‘yes’” at a Ypsilanti City Council meeting.

The comments were made during a vote on the reappointment of Ka’Ron Gaines to a commission that advises the Ypsilanti City council on eliminating prejudice and discrimination.

On Monday night, a group of people called for her resignation and on Tuesday Bashert resigned, apologized and posted a statement on Facebook. (More here.)

5. Ann Arbor father, 3 children tied up during violent home invasion

From November: Spencer John Payne and Cedrick Michael Sims were accused of breaking into two houses, tying up and threatening the occupants.

Payne and Sims were attempted to break into different house but ended up in the house of a single father and his three children, ages 5, 13 and 17. After tying up the family, the two left, broke into another home and later returned to untie the father. (More here.)

6. University of Michigan-themed home hits market

From February: Hail to the victors! This maize-and-blue themed home hit the Hamilton, Michigan, housing market in early 2020.

Decked out with Wolverine memorabilia, the three-bedroom, one bath home was listed at $169,900. We hope it found a buyer who loves the Wolverines as much as the previous owners. (More here.)

7. Ann Arbor police report reveals details surrounding Zavier Simpson crash

From February: After submitted an FOIA request to the Ann Arbor Police Department on Feb. 10, Local 4 got the details of a crash involving University of Michigan basketball team point guard Zavier Simpson.

Officers say Simpson gave a fake name and lied about driving a crashed vehicle. (More here.)

8. Washtenaw County Sheriff to release video showing deputy punching black woman: What to know

From May: On Memorial Day, cell phone video of a deputy repeatedly punching a woman during an arrest went viral on social media.

The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office placed several staff members on administrative and began an investigation into the use of force and arrest of Shatina Grady El and her husband, Dan Grady El, when they would not leave the scene of a shooting near Apple Ridge Street in Ypsilanti Township.

Approximately 45 minutes of body cam footage was later released by WCSO showing the deputy punching Grady El after she bit him during the altercation. (More here.)

9. Ann Arbor police on scene of barricaded gunman situation at apartment complex

From February: On Friday, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to multiple reports of shots being fired in the Hidden Valley Club Apartments in Ann Arbor.

As deputies arrived, they saw a man flee and barricade himself into an apartment. He later surrendered to police without incident the following Sunday after a shootout. (More here.)

10. Donated heart for 8-year-old boy is ‘Christmas Miracle’ for Michigan family

From December: Kaiden Barron, 8, and his family spent Christmas Eve at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital after receiving the Christmas gift of a lifetime.

After being diagnosed six weeks ago with a rare condition called plastic bronchitis, Barron underwent a heart transplant after having already had five open-heart surgeries at a young age.

Kaiden’s mom said the 12-hour surgery on Dec. 10 was incredibly nerve-wracking, but her son came out on the other side stronger than ever. (More here.)


About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.