Michigan Firefighter's Vigilance Leads to Teen's Arrest

A firefighter keeping a watchful eye as dozens of Whitehall children darted door to door Halloween night spotted a car he felt was being driven too fast.


Muskegon, MI -- A firefighter keeping a watchful eye as dozens of Whitehall children darted door to door Halloween night spotted a car he felt was being driven too fast.

Fire Capt. Jeff Holmstrom called police on his cell phone just after 7 p.m., which led to the arrest of a teen wanted on a felony warrant.

The vehicle Holmstrom reported stopped at a home on Livingston Street and the driver went inside, according to police.

The 18-year-old came out to talk to police, but when he learned he was wanted on a warrant, he ran down an alley, said Police Chief Donald Hulbert, and he struggled when officers caught up to him.

"The whole time the officers were talking to him outside, a steady stream of trick-or-treaters were walking by," Hulbert said.

On Monday, Joshua Dale Smith, of 2060 White Lake Drive, was arraigned before 60th District Judge Andrew Wierengo III on a felony warrant for first-degree home invasion.

The warrant, held by the Muskegon County Sheriff's Department, was for a September break-in at a home on Durham Road. Three guns, some change and a necklace had been taken, said Sheriff's Detective Dean Lohman.

After Sunday night's incident, Whitehall police also obtained a warrant against Smith for resisting and obstructing an officer performing his duty and driving while his license was suspended.

Bail for Smith for both cases totaled $11,000 cash or surety, and preliminary examination was set for Nov. 15.

Holmstrom had been near Livingston and Muskegon Avenue when he saw the car go by him driving in excess of 25 mph, police said, a potentially dangerous situation for the many children in the area.

"We typically station firefighters in different locations in case they're needed," Hulbert said.

White Lake Fire Authority Chief Bob Phillips said 12 firefighters were stationed throughout the city of Whitehall and in Whitehall Township Halloween night.

"They volunteer their time to do it, and they've done it for the past 20 years," Phillips said.

The firefighters were out with their trucks, helping children cross the street safely and giving out candy. "They enjoy doing it," Phillips said.