- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

STOCKBRIDGE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - State police are asking for help in finding the occupants of a fleeing vehicle involved in the crash death of an Ingham County sheriff’s deputy.

Twenty-five-year-old Grant Whitaker was killed about 2 a.m. Sunday when his patrol car struck a tree in Stockbridge Township, southeast of Lansing.

First 1st Ld. Sean Furlong said in a statement Monday that state police are handling the investigation. Furlong says they’re trying to identify the fleeing vehicle and its occupants.

Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth says Whitaker had been a sheriff’s deputy for a year and a half.

Stockbridge residents tell the Lansing State Journal that they’re honoring Whitaker, an area resident, by taking part in a national movement called “Lights On” and leaving their porch lights on. It’s scheduled to run through December.

“There are a gazillion lights on in town right now,” said Jeremy Killinger, Stockbridge High School football coach. “It’s obviously truly sad. People want to know who did this. They want closure and justice.”

The newspaper says that Whitaker was pursuing a white SUV east on Dexter Trail when he crashed. It says the vehicle failed to pull over for a traffic stop.

“He was trying to make a difference,” sheriff’s Sgt. Timothy O’Neill told WXMI-TV. He said there was “never a harsh word” from Whitaker. He said the deputy “really was when people think of the perfect police officer, (a) really nice guy.”

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