Driving rampage case moves forward

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:46 AM

The next court date for James Dale Stellema is arraignment in 20th Circuit Court, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Stellema was driving a blue Cadillac Escalade west on I-96 on Oct. 3 when the public began calling 911 to report the vehicle being driven erratically and fast, said Sgt. Chris Koster of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

The westbound Escalade left the freeway at the 68th Avenue exit near Coopersville and hit a car, causing minor injuries to the car's occupants, Koster said. Police said Stellema fled the crash scene and was later involved in a damage-only crash in the 9200 block of Warner Street.

Police caught up with the Escalade near M-45 and U.S. 31 in Grand Haven Township, and then pursued it north to Lincoln Street. That's where they said Stellema stopped and fought with the arresting officers before being taken into custody, Koster said.

Stellema has been charged with operating while impaired (alcohol or controlled substance), fleeing a police officer and assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer.

Additional misdemeanor charges of having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle and failure to stop at a property damage accident will be dropped, said his attorney, Joe Legatz.

“This is another example of why prescription drugs and booze don’t mix,” Legatz said.

Stellema is lodged in the Ottawa County Jail.

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