Van Buren County deputies seeking suspect in traffic stop that caused school lock down

Police are searching for a man who was the only occupant of a car stopped on Interstate 94. Detectives found illegal drugs in the car. (MGN)

The man who ran from a traffic stop on eastbound Interstate 94 -- causing the lock down of Mattawan schools Tuesday -- is wanted on three warrants for delivery of methamphetamine and now faces felony firearm and resisting arrest among other charges.

Courtney Bell, 26, was the driver and only occupant of a vehicle stopped near mile marker 67, just east of the Mattawan exit, by Van Buren County Sheriff's deputies. Police said Bell is from the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, Michigan, area.

In a written statement on the stop, Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott said that Bell was uncooperative and a struggle ensued as deputies attempted an arrest. Bell was able to escape and ran from the location of the stop into a wooded area on the south side of I-94, Abbott said.

With the assistance of K-9 unites, detectives and deputies from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office along with officers from the Mattawan Police Department, Michigan State Police and Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, searched the area but Bell was not located.

A search of the vehicle and a coat left at the scene revealed about 1½ ounces of suspected “ICE” (methamphetamine), 5.4 grams of suspected marijuana and a loaded 45 caliber handgun.

Bell remains a fugitive and is still wanted by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation is ongoing and once completed will be forwarded to the Van Buren County Prosecutors office for review of additional charges, including possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, felony firearm, resisting and obstructing police officers, and driving on a suspended license.

Anyone with information about the incident or Bell's whereabouts should contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office at 269-657-3101, Crime Stoppers at 800-342-7867, Silent Observer at 269-343-2100 or your local police department. Mobile phone users and online users can provide anonymous crime tips to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office by sending a text to “CRIMES” (274637) with the keyword VBCTIP. To submit an online tip, go to and at the top of the homepage.

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Mattawan schools locked down to due police incident on I-94

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