Sheriff Mark Lillywhite to be charged with OWI, possession of firearm while intoxicated

Sherriff Mark Lillywhite (Booking photo, Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department)

St. Joseph County Sheriff Mark Lillywhite was arrested in the early morning hours of Sunday, February 26 following a two-vehicle crash in Schoolcraft Township, according to the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office. Lillywhite is expected to be arraigned on charges of operating while intoxicated and possession of a firearm while intoxicated.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) Paw Paw post troopers are investigating the two-vehicle traffic crash, which occurred around 2:18 a.m. Sunday on southbound US 131 near West YZ Ave. in Schoolcraft Township Sunday.

Lillywhite, the driver and lone occupant of a Chevy Traverse, was traveling south on US 131 when he rear-ended a Nissan Rogue going the same direction. The collision caused both vehicles to lose control and run off the roadway. Occupants from both vehicles suffered only minor injuries. 

During the crash investigation, troopers detected signs of intoxication (alcohol) while speaking with Lillywhite. Following standardized field sobriety tests and assessments, Lillywhite was subsequently arrested and lodged in Kalamazoo County Jail on the aforementioned charges at 6:24 a.m., and was released per protocol at approximately 4:30 p.m. the same day.

Further investigation revealed occupants from both vehicles were wearing seatbelts. Additionally, witnesses advised the Chevy did not appear to have any headlights on prior to the collision.

Alek Haak-Frost is executive editor and publisher of Watershed Voice.