Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EST


Michigan canvasser still afraid after threat, suspect arrest

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The Republican chair of a county canvassing board in Michigan who initially refused to certify local election results that favored Vice President Job Biden over President Donald Trump says Thursday that she doesn’t know a woman charged with sending her threatening text messages. Wayne County Canvasser Monica Palmer told reporters outside her attorney’s office in Farmington Hills, Michigan, that she still fears for her family’s safety following the arrest of 23-year-old Katelyn Jones. Federal authorities charged Jones with making a threat of violence. Jones has ties to Olivet, Michigan, but the FBI said she sent the threats from Epping, New Hampshire, where she was staying with her mother, and she was arrested there.


Man killed, woman hurt after van crashes into pharmacy

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — An 82-year-old man has been killed and a 77-year-old woman injured after the van they were in crashed into a pharmacy in Ann Arbor. reports that part of the van was lodged inside the Walgreens store Wednesday afternoon. Otis Jones, the driver, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Authorities said it took rescue crews about 45 minutes to remove Rose Jones from the van. Two people inside the store suffered minor injuries.


1 person dead, 2 hurt following Grand Rapids house fire

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — One person has died and two others were hurt following a house fire in western Michigan. The blaze was reported about 10 p.m. Wednesday in Grand Rapids and firefighters were told people possibly were trapped inside. The names and ages of the victims have not been released. Authorities said the cause of the fire was being investigated. It was believed to have started in the rear of the home.


Generator on truck hits, damages Michigan freeway overpass

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — An Interstate 94 overpass in southwestern Michigan has been damaged after it was struck by a generator being hauled on a semi-trailer. WOOD-TV reports that Kalamazoo police said the truck and its load was too high for the overpass clearance and hit beams Wednesday beneath the bridge. State Transportation inspectors later determined it still was safe for vehicles to use the overpass. Fuel leaked onto the freeway from the generator. Kalamazoo is south of Grand Rapids.


Off-duty Detroit officer, man wounded in highway shootout

DETROIT (AP) — Police say an off-duty Detroit police officer and a man were wounded in an overnight shootout after the man rammed her vehicle against a highway construction barrier, pinning it there before he left his vehicle and opened fire. Police say the female officer, who returned gunfire and drove from the scene after the shooting, was hospitalized in stable condition with a graze wound, while the 34-year-old man was listed in critical condition with a gunshot wound. Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood with the Detroit Police Department, says the wounded man is known to the officer, but the circumstances of the incident remain under investigation.


State scientist: Michigan virus numbers looking better

A state scientist says Michigan’s rate of new COVID-19 cases has been dropping for more than 29 days. The state last week reported its lowest weekly new case total — 28,072 — since the end of October. The state reported a record total — 50,892 — during Nov. 15-21. Sarah Lyon-Callo, head of the epidemiology bureau, says social distancing will be important during the holiday season. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s health department imposed a ban on indoor restaurant dining, in-person high school classes and other business restrictions. The dining ban remains in place through Jan. 15.


The autopsy, a fading practice, revealed secrets of COVID-19

NEW YORK (AP) — Experts say the COVID-19 pandemic has helped revive the autopsy at many hospitals. The procedure has helped doctors this year understand what coronavirus does to patients’ organs and how they might better treat some of the disease’s more baffling symptoms. At the same time, hospital autopsies remain far less common and much more under-resourced than they were 50 years ago. By demonstrating how a hospital’s morgue can help improve care in its ICUs, experts hope the pandemic could lead to something of a renaissance for the practice. Others are less certain about whether autopsies can fully rebound.


Woman charged in threats against Michigan election official

DETROIT (AP) — A woman has been charged with making threats against a Detroit-area Republican election official. The FBI says Monica Palmer received photos of a mutilated body, a day after after she had initially refused to certify local results in favor of Joe Biden. A criminal complaint was filed against Katelyn Jones. Monica Palmer chaired a raucous meeting of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers on Nov. 17. Palmer and a fellow Republican on the board initially refused to certify local election results, typically a routine step. They later changed their position. The FBI says Jones sent threats the next day from New Hampshire where she was staying with her mother.


School bus parade honors driver who died of COVID-19

CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) — Nearly two dozen school buses drove past the northern Michigan home of a beloved driver who died from COVID-19. It was a surprise tribute for Dale Wiersum’s wife. He was a driver for seven years in Cheboygan, a rural district where buses play a critical role in getting kids to school. His wife, Karen Wiersum, was overwhelmed when she saw the buses Tuesday. Karen was also given a folded Navy flag to honor Dale, who was a 69-year-old veteran. Karen says, “It was wonderful to have all those buses come through.”


Winter storm in Dakotas, Minnesota make travel frightful

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A storm that began with snow, strong winds and bitter cold into the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota and began moving east was making travel treacherous and grounded flights on one of the most anticipated air travel days since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Blizzard warnings were posted in the region as National Weather Service officials called for wind chills to dip to 35 F below zero, pushed by gusts of more than 60 mph. Numerous travel advisories urged motorists to stay off the roads. The storm was centered in southeastern Minnesota and was expected to track steadily toward Eau Claire, Wisconsin and northern Michigan by Wednesday night. Flights were cancelled at airports from Fargo, North Dakota to the Twin Cities.