Good Samaritans save Michigan State Police trooper from attack
Two people are being hailed as heroes for stopping to help a Michigan State Police trooper who was being attacked by two men on the side of the road.
Jerry Burnham, 44, of Berrien Springs and a 50-year-old Plainwell man stopped their vehicles at the scene Monday morning in Berrien County, pulling the men off Trooper Gary Guild and assisting Guild so he could arrest the suspects.
“They stopped when other people were not stopping to help a police officer who was being attacked by two people,” Michigan State Police Lt. Melinda Logan said. “Without regard for their safety, they came in and rescued the trooper until he was able to gain control of the suspects and place them under arrest.
“Without them, I don’t know what would have happened to the trooper.”
Michigan State Police plan to somehow recognize Burnham and the man from Plainwell, who asked police not to release his identity, Logan said.
The two suspects — brothers Michael Scott Barber, 21, of Gobles, Mich. and Travis Taylor Wise, 19, of Middlebury, Ind. — were arraigned today on multiple felony counts.
According to state police, Guild tried to stop a motorcycle that Barber was driving south on U.S. 31 Bypass near Matthew Road for speeding Monday morning. Barber began to stop but then accelerated and re-entered the freeway, police said.
“After a three-mile pursuit, the driver attempted to maneuver in the gore of the exit ramp and lost control. After crashing, the driver quickly returned to his feet and charged toward Tpr. Guild,” according to a news release from State Police.
Guild was wrestling with Barber, police said, when a vehicle stopped and Wise ran out toward the trooper and started attacking him. Wise was attempted to choke Guild while Barber punched him in the face, according to police.
Logan said the Plainwell man stopped his vehicle first and pulled Barber away from the trooper and threw him on the ground. He next pulled Wise off the trooper.
Burnham then stopped his vehicle and helped pin Wise down so the trooper could arrest Barber, police said. Both suspects were taken into custody. Burnham could not immediately be reached for comment today.
Guild was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released. Authorities say the motorcycle was stolen from Van Buren County.
Barber and Wise were arraigned in Berrien County on charges of assault strangulation, a 10-year-felony; attempting to disarm a police officer, a two-year felony; and resisting and obstructing a police officer causing injury, a four-year felony.
Barber was also charged with third-degree fleeing and eluding and receiving and concealing a stolen vehicle, both five-year felonies. Additionally, Wise was charged with obstruction of justice, a five-year felony.
Bond was set at $100,000 cash or surety for Wise and $75,000 cash or surety for Barber. A pre-exam conference and preliminary exam hearing are scheduled for March 1 and March 7, respectively, at Berrien County Trial Court in Niles.
Both men have asked for court-appointed attorneys. As of mid-afternoon today, no attorneys were listed for them in court records.
Staff writer Ann Zaniewski.
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