VIDEO: Sheriff Nails PIT Maneuver To Catch Arsonist, Then Fur Missile Jumps In

Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott said he knew they had to stop the SUV before the suspect endangered more lives.

Bangor, MI – The sheriff of Van Buren County executed a flawless PIT maneuver and stopped a wanted arsonist on Friday morning after he led police on a high-speed chase (video below).

Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott said that James Ochoa-Rodriguez set his girlfriend’s car on fire after a domestic dispute at about 3 a.m. on Aug. 16, WWMT reported.

A few hours later, South Haven police said that Ochoa-Rodriguez was involved in a fight at a Shell gas station on Broadway Street and pointed a handgun at someone.

Police pursued Ochoa-Rodriguez’s vehicle and Sheriff Abbott said the SUV’s occupants pointed guns at police during the chase, according to WWMT.

However, the driver of the suspect vehicle was stopping at stop signs and not driving down the wrong side of the road, so the sheriff’s deputies and police officers continued the pursuit.

“When he went by our K-9 officer, a hand gun was pointed at him,” Sheriff Abbott said. “We don’t like to pursue but in this situation and what just took place at South Haven with the gun pointed at officers, it was one of those that we felt we needed to continue on with the pursuit.”

The sheriff had been at the initial arson crime scene after Ochoa-Rodriquez started the car fire, so he said he had an idea of where the man was headed as he fled from police, WWMT reported.

He said he was back out on the street for the chase because he couldn’t sleep.

“A lot of times when I can’t sleep well, I’ll get up shave, shower, and come in and help out the road guys, and work the road for a while before I actually come into the office,” Sheriff Abbott said.

So on Friday morning, the sheriff took a leading role in stopping the arsonist on the run, WWMT reported.

He joined the pursuit after the 911 calls came in from the Shell station New Haven.

A few minutes later, he was the second car behind the suspect vehicle, WWMT reported.

“So I asked our K9 unit to move over and I was going to PIT him at the next intersection. I had a good idea where he was going,” Sheriff Abbott said.

Dashcam video from the pursuit showed the sheriff executing a flawless Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver that cause the suspect’s SUV to spin into the ditch facing the wrong way.

As the car spun and came to a stop, a red plastic gas can flew out of the window.

Police suspected it was the gas can used to start the fire in the car at Ochoa-Rodriguez’s girlfriend’s apartment complex, WMMT reported.

Even after the suspect’s SUV was stuck in the ditch, Ochoa-Rodriguez continued to try to escape.

“He kept his foot on the accelerator after he figured out what was going on, kept driving and was trying to move when we were trying to put him in the custody,” Sheriff Abbott explained. “So if he would’ve been in a level spot there’s a good chance he would’ve took off and hit one of our patrol cars, or officers that were at the scene, and the pursuit would have started up again.”

Police surrounded the vehicle and pulled one of the occupants in the back seat out through the window, the video showed.

Initially, Ochoa-Rodriguez was uncooperative and refused to follow commands.

Police deployed a Taser and police dog to bring the suspect into custody, the video showed.

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Sheriff Abbott said he did the PIT maneuver because he was worried about what would happen if Ochoa-Rodriguez made it back to his girlfriend’s apartment complex, WMMT reported.

“My biggest fear along with the officers’ biggest fear was if he got into that apartment complex, and you have kids and families in there,” Abbott said. “If they bail out with guns they could’ve went very south with a lot of different people. That’s why I decide to PIT them when I did, to try and avoid that situation because I knew the public would be in danger.”

Ochoa-Rodriguez was arrested and charged with operating under the influence, fleeing and eluding, and resisting and obstructing, WMMT reported.

However, Sheriff Abbott said his office would be pursuing charges on a number of additional felonies.

South Haven police said they found a pellet gun and other evidence of the arson in Bangor in the suspect’s vehicle, WMMT reported.

The Bangor Police Department was investigating the arson incident.

“We had a lot of good competent deputies on today, Dispatch did a great job, Bangor PD did a great job, everybody did a nice job,” Sheriff Abbott told WMMT. “Communication was clear and everybody knew what everybody was doing ahead of time and it was just smooth the whole operation as to where to everybody was safe during the whole thing.”

Watch the sheriff stop the suspect’s SUV in the video below:

Comments (21)
No. 1-15
JBo
JBo

My kinda Sheriff!

flybynight
flybynight

Amish?

Justretired
Justretired

I'd love to work for him, the high sheriff out working with rd officers? That's unheard of where I'm from. I'd damn shor follow him or he follow me threw a door! My kind of boss man! Lead by example.

mike2482
mike2482

I had a Lt. for 6 1/2 yrs. that I would have followed anywhere. Lt. Reese worked the streets with us, and if we had to fight, he was right there with us. He was the kind of leader guys wish for.

Vodkabreakfast
Vodkabreakfast

That definitely illustrates the difference between a boss and a leader. His blood is worth bottling. And not to forget the pupper who in turn represents the very definition of devotion. Truly a credit to the canine species. Stories like this really give a cloud a silver lining! 👍

LostAllSanity
LostAllSanity

Outstanding work and a great Sheriff!

Dutchuncle
Dutchuncle

WOW, set fire to his girlfriend's car,,,THAT should make her LOVE HIM...Right? POS

Chaplain  Five  O
Chaplain Five O

Could it be “It’s no fun be an illegal alien “ Phil Collins and & Genesis

Woobie46
Woobie46

I had a chief who did this sort of thing...he was ex NYPD det. chief and he was one tough SOB! He got things done on the street and from the office that no one else could have pulled off. Can't tell you the respect he had...wish they all came up the hard way and then we'd see this more often! Impressed, Sheriff - Big Time!

Sargejh
Sargejh

Good story. Happy ending. But after PIT, looked like Keystone cops. Have departments stopped teaching felony stops? I saw multiple officers exposing themselves to several occupants of a car. Then several more officers in potential crossfire of other officers. Then sheriff sticks his gun inside of back window! This video could be used in how not to clear a vehicle. I worry about my brother and sister officers because I see these videos all of the time.

Storm45
Storm45

Great PIT maneuver by the good Sheriff, but really bad tactics by all of the officers. Multiple officers covered by other officers, the sheriff placing his weapon inside the rear window within strike range of the suspects. Glad it turned out OK but Jeeeze guys. You know Suspect control 101.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Look at that good doggy wagging his tail. He is ready to have some fun.

gfc1963
gfc1963

Another muppet that wants to fight half a dozen cops and a K9!

Makala
Makala

Should have let the dog get in the car!

Storm45
Storm45

The greater tragedy beyond the incredible stupidity she seems to embrace, is that her constituency actually voted her into office. Her rallies look like a National Geographic special.