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Deputies, police continue to search for driver who fled traffic stop on I-94

MATTAWAN, Mich. — Van Buren County Deputies and Michigan State Police continue to search for a driver who ran away minutes after he was pulled over on I-94 near Mattawan Tuesday afternoon.

“You could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle,” said Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott. “So we got the subject out.”

A press release from the Sheriff's Office stated that once the suspect — 26-year-old Courtney Bell of Kalamazoo — was out of the vehicle he was uncooperative with their investigation and a struggle began.

“At that point when we are putting him in custody he ended up pulling out of his coat away from us,” said Sheriff Abbott. “A foot chase ensued along with our K9 unit.”

He said Bell fled into a nearby wooded area and they immediately chased him. However they could not catch him.  After searching his coat and vehicle again deputies found marijuana and methamphetamine.

“We’ve had sources that say he’s been known to carry handguns,” said Sheriff Abbott. “We actually did pull out a loaded handgun underneath the driver seat.”

Bell ran away wearing a black t-shirt and black pants, Sheriff Abbott said. Around 5pm, the Sheriff’s Office received a tip regarding his whereabouts. Considering the cold temperatures and high winds, they expect him to pop up on their radar soon.

“We’re assuming he’s going to try and get back to his home up in the Kalamazoo area,” said Sheriff Abbott. “I’m going to guess at this point that he’s probably going to pop out on a backroad somewhere and try and get ride to Kalamazoo.”

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