Man charged in chase that killed Oakland County deputy to undergo competency evaluation

Christopher Berak accused of intentionally running down deputy

Christopher Berak (Macomb County Sheriff's Office Inmate Locator)
Christopher Berak (Macomb County Sheriff's Office Inmate Locator)

A 22-year-old Macomb County man accused of fatally hitting an Oakland County sheriff's deputy on Thanksgiving will undergo a competency evaluation. 

Christopher Joseph Berak is charged with first-degree premeditated homicide and murder of a peace officer. He is accused of leading deputies on a chase and deliberately hitting and killing Deputy Eric Overall at the intersection of M-15 and Seymore Lake Road. 

"The man tapped his brakes and made almost a 90-degree turn to hit and kill Deputy Overall," Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna said.

Berak has been denied bond. His next court hearing is scheduled for mid February. 

Man said he was God, wanted to free followers 

Law enforcement said video and audio from a surveillance camera Wednesday, Nov. 22 at the Lapeer County Jail shows Berak saying that he was God and he had come to the jail to free one of his followers.

He then left the jail, got back in his car and drove away. Two deputies were contacted about the incident as the man turned in to the prison next door, which is a restricted area. Police said the man pulled up to the front and was asked what he was doing.

The man said again that he was God and that he was there to free one of his followers, police said. He said he "has a claim on this land," meaning the prison's land, according to authorities.

During these interactions, the man was on the phone with a Lapeer County 911 operator, officials said. He told the operator a similar story, claiming to be God, and said he was there to remove someone. He claimed it's not fair to have his follower locked up due to a violation of man-made laws that they don't follow, according to police.

Officials said the man got upset that nobody was helping him remove his follower, so he hung up on the operator.

Police pursue man

An armed officer doing a perimeter check at the prison came across the man and told him to sto, but police said the man got in the car and fled the parking lot.

As the car turned on John County Drive, the officers who had been called to the scene said they passed him in the opposite direction and turned around to follow him.

Police said the man turned back into the county jail and stopped when the officers turned on their overhead lights.

Officials got out and tried to make contact with the man, and he told them his follower should be released because it was unfair to hold him in the jail due to a violation of man-made laws.

After the exchange with the officers, police said the man took off again. Deputies followed, but turned off their overhead lights to deescalate the situation, according to McKenna. He said they turned off their lights because of the unstable behavior of the man, believing they might be dealing with someone delusional.

Deputies said they followed the car onto I-69 and activated their overhead lights. The man pulled over on the side of the road and officers approached the car, police said. Police said he locked the doors and started yelling, even threatening to take his seat belt off and kill himself by driving into a tree.

Police said the man put the car in drive and took off again, going west on I-69.

"The entire pursuit was controlled," McKenna said. "There was very little traffic and (he drove at) low speeds."

Officials said the man drove the speed limit and used his blinker when changing lanes. He exited at M-15 and turned left with deputies still in pursuit.

Oakland County deputy hit

Over the radio, the deputies learned an Oakland County Sheriff's Office patrol car was at the intersection of M-15 and Seymore Lake Road to deploy stop sticks. The patrol car was stopped at the intersection, and the Lapeer County deputies fell back when the driver approached, so they could avoid the stop sticks.

As the driver approached the intersection, the Oakland County deputy backed into a grassy area.

"The man tapped his brakes and made almost a 90-degree turn to hit and kill Deputy Overall," McKenna said.

Police said Overall was hit at 12:31 a.m. Thursday.

When the man's car came to a stop, officials approached it and managed to take the man into custody without further incident.

"This was a deliberate act," McKenna said. "There is no doubt in my mind."

Overall was pronounced dead at the hospital, McKenna said.

McKenna said the chase lasted around 30 minutes.

"Ultimately, this man chose to make a deliberate act to kill a deputy, to kill a husband, at the drop of a hat," McKenna said. "It doesn't matter what our patch says. We're all family."

While talking to the 911 operator, the man had mentioned the name of his "follower." That man was an inmate at the Lapeer County Jail who had been there since July. Investigators interviewed him, and he said he hadn't talked to the man in a long time.

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