Westland hit and run suspect vehicle

Image of the suspect vehicle (Photo: Westland police)

Suspect Vehicle Sought In Hit-And-Run Death Of Wayne County Sheriff's Sergeant In Westland [PHOTOS]

August 15, 2018 - 3:59 pm

WESTLAND (WWJ) - Police have released two photos of a suspect vehicle as they search for a driver wanted in the hit-and-run death of a Wayne County Sheriff's sergeant

Westland hit and run suspect vehicle
Suspect vehicle (Photo: Westland police)
While checking surveillance footage from local businesses, Westland police found video of a black Buick Enclave matching the description of the small SUV that struck Sgt. Lee Smith, as he jogged along Hines Drive, just west of Middlebelt.

The vehicle seen in the photos has chrome rims, chrome door handles and chrome luggage rack, as described an eyewitness -- and was seen near where the accident occurred, during the same period. The vehicle in the photos also has damage similar to what police say they would expect to see as a result of the crash.

This vehicle was spotted on Hines Drive, as well on Telegraph Road near Warren and Ford Roads, police said, and may have traveled southbound on Telegraph Road from Warren Road.

As an investigation continues, Westland police said they would also appreciate help from any additional residents or businesses that may have surveillance video capturing this particular vehicle in that area around the time of the crash. 

According to Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Smith was off duty at around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, jogging eastbound on the shoulder of Hines Drive, when the Enclave veered across the roadway, hitting the him. The vehicle dragged the sergeant a short distance, never stopping, before driving away from the scene. 

At a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, the sheriff said investigators are closing in on the wanted driver. 

Sgt. Lee Smith
Sgt. Lee Smith (Photo: Wayne County Sheriff’s Office)

"This net is closing fast," Napoleon told WWJ's Stephanie Davis and other reporters. "And as I said yesterday, it's much better if you turn yourself in than if we have to find you."

Smith, a 26-year veteran of the force, is being remembered as a hero. He was honored with a Westland Police Department Certificate of Merit for helping evacuate people from a burning senior citizens center. A married father of an adult son, he was set to retire from the force in about a week. 

A cash reward for the tip that leads to an arrest in this case is now up to $15,000 -- thanks to Crime Stoppers, a donation from Harley-Davidson, a local businessman and an additional anonymous donor. 

Anyone who recognizes the vehicle pictured above or who believes they can identify the wanted driver is asked to call Westland police at 734-722-9600, or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.