2018-08-08 / Front Page

Fatal hit and run crash ends with suspect’s suicide

‘It doesn’t get much worse’
BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

IMLAY CITY — Police say if Alexander George Waschull, 47, of Shelby Township had just stayed with his Jeep Friday morning following a fatal motorcycle crash, he’d likely still be alive and facing misdemeanor charges.

Instead he ran, and set in motion a massive manhunt that ended early Saturday morning when a Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept. deputy found his lifeless body in a nearby cornfield. Imlay City Police Chief Scott Pike said it appears Waschull shot himself in the head with a .45 caliber handgun after spending most of the day hiding in a cornfield east of South Cedar Street and north of Newark Road.

Pike said Waschull on Friday was driving south on South Cedar Street in his silver Jeep with his 9-year-old son and his mother following in a separate vehicle about 10 a.m. when made a left turn into the Big Boy restaurant and into the path of a Harley- Davidson motorcycle ridden by Rick Dahn, 54, of Almont.

Dahn, who grew up in Imlay City and was a member of the Imlay City Fraternal Order of Eagles Ayre No. 4082, died at the scene.

Following the accident, Pike said, Waschull got out of his vehicle, tossed his son to his mother and ran off in an unknown direction, setting off a citywide manhunt. Pike said the Waschull has had police contacts, mainly in Macomb County for weapons offenses, domestic violence, drunken driving and disorderly conduct. He added Macomb County’s 16th Judicial Circuit currently had issued a personal protection order (PPO) prohibiting him from possessing weapons, but it hadn’t been served yet.

Pike said he didn’t know much about the PPO other than that Macomb County courts had given one to a woman with a different last name. The records Pike had didn’t indicate where she was from or their relationship.

Waschull was listed as an Ameriprise financial advisor in Bloomfield Hills early Friday, but by the end of the day his photo and bio had been removed from the company’s website.

Waschull was in Imlay City visiting family and there was speculation that he had come to stash his weapons to keep them from being seized by police. Pike said his officers found 16 firearms, most of them loaded, in the back of Waschull’s Jeep following the accident.

Pike said conviction of causing an accident resulting in death is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. Leaving the scene of a fatal accident is a 15-year felony. Waschull had no outstanding warrants at the time of the accident. “It was a horrible accident, but it was an accident,” Pike said. “We would have liked him to resolve this without (more) death,” Pike said.

Pike said 11 officers and a K-9 unit searched the city Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in an unsuccessful attempt to locate Waschull. Special Deputy Steven Francis (a licensed helicopter pilot) flew over the area north and east of the South Cedar Street and Newark Road intersection for an hour beginning at 7 p.m. Friday in an attempt to find Waschull.

He said Francis reported spotting what appeared to be a trail through a corn field northeast of the Shopko store, but a ground search found nothing. About 2:30 a.m. Saturday employees at the Super 8 Motel on Newark Road told police they’d seen a man walking along the same path.

Deputy Adam Moran searched the area and found Waschull’s feet sticking out of the corn. Pike said he was dead from a single gunshot wound to the head.

It doesn’t get much worse,” Pike said. “We have two families devastated.”

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