- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

MASON, Mich. (AP) - A 34-year-old man was arraigned Monday in the death of an Ingham County sheriff’s deputy who crashed his patrol car during a chase earlier this month.

John C. Kelsey II of Stockbridge is charged with first-degree fleeing/eluding causing death and operating a vehicle on a suspended license causing death.

Authorities say an officer in an unmarked sheriff’s car began chasing a sport utility vehicle on Dec. 7 after the driver failed to stop. Deputy Grant Whitaker, 25, took over as the lead pursuer in his marked vehicle when he lost control and crashed about 2 a.m. near Stockbridge, about 40 miles southeast of Lansing.

State police Detective 1st Lt. Sean Furlong said Monday at a news conference in Lansing that deputies were trying to stop Kelsey for a “traffic violation.”

Police were not able to catch the SUV. Hundreds of tips were called in to authorities in the days after the crash, said state police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue.

A $10,000 reward also was offered. Authorities are continuing to investigate the crash.

Kelsey was arrested Friday and appeared Monday via video in Mason’s 55th District Court.

He also is being charged as a habitual offender and has a previous fleeing and eluding police conviction on his record, according to Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III.

Kelsey’s bond was set at $1 million. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

A preliminary hearing has been set for Dec. 23.

Whitaker’s funeral was held Friday. The Stockbridge High School graduate had been a sheriff’s deputy for less than two years after serving with police departments in Stockbridge and Waterloo Township.

A memorial fund has been set up at Mason State Bank in Mason.

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