SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Southfield police said a “very bizarre” chase ended with a driver and a woman previously thought to be a kidnapping victim both hiding from officers in separate garbage cans.
Officials were called around 7:30 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 21) to the area of 8 Mile Road and Shiawassee Street in Southfield. They said witnesses reported seeing a woman being abducted and forced into a gray SUV against her will.
When officers arrived, they saw the SUV at the scene and tried to make a traffic stop, according to Chief Elvin Barren. The driver, later identified as a 26-year-old man, fled at a high speed, according to authorities.
Barren said officers tried a PIT maneuver, but it was unsuccessful. They coordinated with dispatchers and other officers because they were worried about the safety of the 23-year-old woman, who was believed to be a kidnapping victim at the time, Barren said.
The chase continued onto the Southfield Freeway and crossed into Detroit, police said. The driver lost control of the SUV and crashed into a tree in the area of Ashton Avenue and West McNichols Road, according to Barren.
When officers got to the crash scene, nobody was inside the SUV, they said. Police set up a perimeter in the neighborhood and started searching yards.
Authorities said they found the driver hiding in a garbage can. The 23-year-old woman was found hiding in another garbage can a few doors down, the chief said.
“It was very bizarre for our officers because, again, we thought that we had a kidnapping situation in progress,” Barren said.
It was not a kidnapping, but rather, some type of domestic dispute, he believes.
“Here we are thinking that you are a potential victim, but you’re fleeing along with the suspect,” Barren said.
Detroit EMS officials were called to the scene to treat the man and woman for scratches from the crash. They are both stable, Barren said.
The driver of the SUV is expected to be arraigned Tuesday morning on charges of fleeing and eluding, resisting and obstructing arrest, and receiving and concealing stolen property.
Barren said there are still questions about what exactly took place at 8 Mile Road and Shiawassee Street.
“It does appear by witness statements that she was forced into the vehicle, but it’s unknown because she’s not really cooperating with us at this point, to what level of kidnapping,” Barren said. “Was it a domestic argument where he was trying to get her to go to wherever their next location was, or was she trying to get away from him and then she was forced inside the vehicle?”
The case remains open, and police hope the woman will eventually provide more information about what happened.
“At this point, there’s no charges that she could face,” Barren said. “Right now, we’re looking at her as a potential victim, and then we’ll let the investigative process determine where our next steps are.”
You can watch Barren’s full update below.