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Posted on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

Driver of stolen police vehicle in high-speed chase arraigned on 7 felonies

By Paula Gardner


Ryan Elliott Cunningham of Chelsea was arraigned Tuesday afternoon on seven felonies.


View video of police chase from patrol-car camera

The Chelsea man who led police on a chase topping an estimated 130 mph on Friday through three counties was charged Tuesday with seven felonies, according to a report on

Ryan Elliott Cunningham is charged with two methamphetamine-related charges, three firearm charges, auto theft and fleeing a police officer. He's held in the Jackson County jail on $100,000 bond.

Cunningham was arrested at a Jackson-area motel Friday for drug charges, then stole a police SUV and led police on a chase on eastbound Interstate 94 through Ann Arbor before heading south on US-23.

He was apprehended when he crashed the vehicle near the Ohio border after Michigan State Police dropped "stop sticks" in the highway near Milan.

An unedited video from the stolen police SUV shows Cunningham - wearing only underwear - leaving the parking lot of a Jackson-area motel after his initial arrest, entering eastbound I-94, weaving in and out of traffic and passing on the shoulder near Ann Arbor, then heading south on US-23 before crashing.

Read the full story.


Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Sun, Jan 1, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

The most serious mistake I see here is the roadblock at the state line. The MSP stopped traffic with a lunatic coming in their direction at a high rate of speed. If you watch the video and the way he crashed, innocent people could have been seriously injured or killed. The driver of the stolen vehicle literally plowed through a crowd of stopped cars. Thankfully he did not take a direct hit on one because in the video he is moving at a high rate of speed while trying to squeeze through the middle. If they did not anticipate something like this happening some additional training is warranted. That video gave me goose bumps watching it. From where he entered M23 to the state line even at a high rate of speed there was adequate time to put local police at every exit and direct vehicles off the highway. Something went awfully wrong here and I suspect it is a lack of ability to communicate on the same frequencies.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 12:08 a.m.

Maybe something could be put into police vehicles that could disable the vehicle with a remote.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 11:27 p.m.

Upon Conviction.......... Life him.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 7:05 p.m.

I think all Law enforcement did a great job! (I followed it on the police scanner) Those that are putting police in blame, should have been the officer. (what would you have done?) I also talked to one of the EMT's at the scene, ( a family member) This man is a dangerous one. He should get LIFE in my book.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

If he's dangerous, how can you defend the police who allowed his escape? Handcuffed and unsupervised in a police car with the key in it? Come on.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

There's a video-game in this : "Grand Theft Shmuck"


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

this incident reeks of could a two bit junky steal a police car AFTER being that vehicle 50 or more miles at top speed while thumbing his nose at all the cops that were following him.finally being stopped by a whole army of men in blue at the Ohio border only after he crashed into several other vehicles. The police work certainly left something to be desired from the beginning to the end.the first cop probably needs to be retrained in basic skills like handcuffing.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

Or job hunting.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 2:58 a.m.

There's no useful purpose to be served, really, in offering criminal justice majors at area institutions of higher education. Let the kids read the comments posted on, and learn from the real experts.

Left is Right

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 2:53 a.m.

Obviously, many mistakes by the officers allowed this chase to occur. Unlocked or "malfunctioning" screen, keys left in the vehicle. And if they weren't mistakes, the department's SOP's surely need an overhaul. Could have been much worse. And the carelessness has resulted in seven felony charges instead of maybe three with the likely consequence of considerably more prison time. Bad deal all around.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.

"From a drug standpoint, I think meth is probably the worst drug in my book," Klaeren said. As I said before, this drug is really bad news and everyone needs to realize it is here in our community now. It makes people do things they never would have dreamed of doing.

5c0++ H4d13y

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 1:43 a.m.

This seems to happen enough that cops should use those RFID key fobs that some cars have these days.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 4:01 a.m.

If the car doesn't have keyless starting when it leaves the factory, retrofitting the system is cost-prohibitive. The systems are also far from 100% reliable.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 1:13 a.m.

The video reminds me of the Gene Hackman chase scene in the French Connection movie. The officer who allowed the arrestee to be unattended may face an internal investigation as it is usually a violation of departmental rules not to supervise a prisoner. The theft of a patrol car is rare but does happen. In Southfield about a year ago an officer left his squad car running with the door open to pursue a suspect on foot and the suspect doubled around and got inside the police car and drove into Detroit before abandoning it; the police recovered the abandoned car several hours later. The suspect was located several months later.


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 11:46 p.m.

He has a bond??? No "flee risk" here.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

understand something it's politically correct to bond out criminals.why not remand him or make the bond $10,000,000.00 CASH not just 10%?


Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 11:30 p.m.

The report on the news said that he was able to get his cuffed hands in front of him and then climbed to the front seat...this was not a case of him running and jumping in a vehicle.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 11:03 p.m.

reminiscent of Stephen Grant "taking the dog for a walk" while the police searched his house for the body of his wife or other evidence of her disappearance .

Ron Granger

Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 10:36 p.m.

"Cunningham was arrested at a Jackson-area motel Friday for drug charges, then stole a police SUV" Which cop lost custody of this prisoner and allowed this extremely dangerous chase to happen? In allowing him to steal the police vehicle, they allowed him to gain access to police weapons. That's why they were so willing to risk the public's safety during the chase - capturing the prisoner they lost would help them save face. What's the backstory?

UM Rocks

Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 11:10 p.m.

Earlier story said he was able to get handcuffs in front of him and then jumped through window between front and back and took off.