A former Muskegon Heights man charged with drunken driving, fleeing police and crashing into a house in Grand Haven has received a postponement of his trial, now that he’s agreed to work with his original public defender.
Already postponed once, Hank William Jones’ trial in Ottawa County Circuit Court was supposed to begin today. Jones, 69, was in court Tuesday morning and a new trial date will be set.
Jones has been in jail since the March 22 incident in which he led Grand Haven police on a high-speed chase across the city before losing control of his car and crashing into a house.
In late August, Jones requested a new defense attorney, and Judge Karen Miedema approved the request. The case was taken from assistant public defender Ryan Seale and assigned to assistant public defender Nichole Derks.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Seale again appeared with Jones. Seale said that Derks met with the defendant several times with the understanding she would handle the case if it did not go to trial.
Because it is proceeding to trial, and because Seale has all the background information, the case was assigned back to him.
Seale said he was requesting the adjournment in order to reschedule an expert witness who was difficult to schedule at the last minute. Miedema approved the adjournment and agreed Seale could be back on the case after asking Jones if that was OK with him.
“It is what it is,” Jones said.
A Grand Haven Department of Public Safety officer pulled Jones over on Third Street on Harbor Island after a group of young people, who were taking pictures in the area, told the patrolling officer the man was staring at them, as well as following them around in his car. During questioning, the officer smelled marijuana in Jones’ car and then Jones took off.
Police tried to block Jones’ car in a parking area on Harbor Island, but he was able to get around them and fled. Jones drove east on Jackson Street, managed to get a green light to cross Beacon Boulevard and then gained speeds of up to 70 mph as he drove south on Ferry Street.
Police stopped the pursuit, and as the car approached Washington Avenue, Jones lost control of it. The car went off the road and rolled over into the side of a house.
Emergency crews worked for more than an hour to extricate Jones from his car. He was then taken to a local hospital before being lodged at the Ottawa County Jail, where he remains on a $75,000 bond.