L’Anse teen sentenced in four-county car chase
By NIKKI YOUNK
CRYSTAL FALLS – A L’Anse teen has been sentenced to serve time in the Iron County Jail for a felony charge stemming from a car chase incident that spanned four Upper Peninsula counties.
Devin Charles Curtis, 18, was ordered Monday to serve nine months in jail with credit for time already served. He also must serve three years of probation and pay $1,855.32 in restitution to the owner of the vehicle involved and the Michigan State Police.
Curtis was sentenced on one felony count of unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle. An additional felony count of fleeing a police officer-third degree-vehicle code was dismissed in a plea deal.
The charges against Curtis stem from an Oct. 28 incident.
According to Michigan State Police troopers, Curtis and 18-year-old Shad Bryan of Baraga stole a 2011 Subaru Outback from the parking lot of Angeli’s Central Market in Iron River.
When troopers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle on U.S. 141 in Hematite Township, the vehicle would not stop.
Curtis and Bryan then led law enforcement officials on a 65-mile chase from U.S. 141 in Iron and Baraga counties, to M-28 in Baraga, Houghton, and Ontonagon counties, to U.S. 45 in Ontonagon County.
Troopers said that the driver lost control of the vehicle on U.S. 45 near Gauthier Road. Curtis and Bryan fled the scene on foot, but were apprehended the next morning.
Bryan was sentenced to serve eight months in the Iron County Jail for his part in the crime.
During Curtis’ sentencing hearing in Iron County Trial Court on Monday, his attorney Don Powell argued for Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) status.
Defendants who are placed under HYTA status will not have a criminal record if they successfully complete all probation requirements. Only defendants between the ages of 17 and 20 are eligible for HYTA.
“It’s difficult to present anything to this court that I can say is a positive thing,” Powell said in reference to the case. “I just ask that you take into consideration his age.”
Powell suggested that Curtis receive the same punishment that his codefendant received, including the HYTA status.
Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell agreed that a similar sentence would be appropriate, as the defendants apparently took turns driving the vehicle.
“There’s very little distinction between Mr. Bryan and Mr. Curtis,” she said. “They’re angry, antisocial young men.”
Curtis elected to not make a statement to the court.
Judge C. Joseph Schwedler noted that Michigan sentencing guidelines would not allow him to send Curtis to prison for this offense. However, he believed that Curtis may face prison time in the future if he does not change his ways.
“The only way to stop Mr. Curtis from breaking the law is to keep him incarcerated,” he said.
Judge Schwedler sentenced Curtis to serve nine months in jail, with credit for time served while he was being held in the Baraga County Jail, and three years of probation. Curtis was granted HYTA status.
Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is email@example.com.