WESTLAND, Mich. – Dramatic video captured Westland police officers attempting to save a man from a burning car -- a man who didn’t seem to want their help.
Police were called to the intersection of Ford and Venoy roads just before 1 a.m. July 21 on reports of a driver doing doughnuts. The stunts kept other drivers from getting by until the SUV overheated and burst into flames.
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Police body camera footage captured how the officers handled the situation.
When officers arrived, they found a Chevrolet Traverse driving in circles in reverse with its airbags deployed. Surrounded by police, the driver continued to drive doughnuts until the vehicle lit on fire and came to a stop.
“Get out, it is on fire, man,” a police officer can be hear on the video.
“I’m good, I’m good,” the driver said back.
“He’s not trying to get out,” a police officer said.
The driver locked his arms around the steering wheel and continued to fight officers as the SUV burned. That’s when police saw he had a razor blade knife.
“He’s got a knife, he’s got a knife,” an officer said. “Put it down, man.”
Police could have used a Taser or lethal force, but instead they chose a different route based on training on how to handle people on drugs or in crisis. Officers backed away and eventually talked the man into dropping the weapon.
Officers were able to remove the man from the vehicle and walked him to a nearby grassy area where they were able to handcuff him without injury.
Charges are pending against the driver, a 43-year-old Livonia resident. The driver has been released from custody pending the results of a blood test.
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