Melissa Iren Whitenight, 29, 115 N. Mountain Blvd., Mountaintop, has been charged with Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Officer, Driving Without a License, Giving False Information, Disregard Traffic Lane, Obedience to Traffic-Control Devices. The charges were filed on May 10, 2016 by Officer Kristen Paulshock of the Wright Twp. Police Department.
According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, On Friday, April 15, 2016 at 2:39 a. m., Rice Twp. Ptlm. Phil Collotty and Fairview Ptlm. Joe Benson were parked in the parking lot of 273 S. Main Road, Wright Twp. They stated that they heard a loud crash and tires squealing.
Patrolman Collotty stated that he then saw a silver 2002 Ford Windstar traveling south on South Main Road at a high speed. He then contacted Officer Paulshock via radio and advised her of this vehicle and its direction of travel, Ptlm. Collotty stated that he activated his lights and sirens on his marked patrol car and attempted to stop the vehicle.
Ptlm. Benson also activated his lights and sirens on his marked patrol cruiser and followed Ptlm. Collotty. Collotty then stated that the vehicle almost struck guardrails on the west side of the roadway near Forest Drive. He also stated that the vehicle crossed over the center yellow lines several times into the northbound lane. The vehicle also crossed over the white line on either side of the road and onto the berms. Ptlm. Collotty stated that the vehicle almost struck several mailboxes.
The vehicle traveled approximately 1.1 miles before coming to a stop at 371 S. Main Road, Ptlm. Collotty saw the driver jump out of the driver seat and over to the passenger side.
Officer Paulshock arrived on scene as the vehicle stopped. The officers found three female occupants in the vehicle. The Defendant was in the rear passenger right seat. She was identified as Melissa Iren Whitenight. She denied being the operator of the vehicle. She accused the front passenger as being the operator. The rear driver side passenger was identified as Vanessa Lynn Kubik. The front right side passenger was identified as Stephanie Lynn Ent. Kubik also accused Ent as being the driver. Ent denied driving but she did submit to a BAC test which resulted in a fee of $75. Investigation revealed that the vehicle struck a mailbox, newspaper box and posts at 257 S. Main Road resulting in $99 damage. The defendant did not notify the property owner or police of damage.
On Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 1 p. m., the defendant came to the Wright Twp. Police Department, She was read her Miranda Warnings and changed her statement. She stated that she did drive the vehicle and strike the mailbox. She stated that she saw the police vehicles but did not stop. She stated that eventually she did jump into the back seat of the vehicle to avoid prosecution. The vehicle owner also incurred approximately $350 in towing costs.
A preliminary hearing is set June 15, 2016 at 10 a. m.