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October 22, 1971 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-10-22

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Friday, October 22, 1971


Page Seven

Friday1 October 22, 1971 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Seven






(Continued from Page 1)
24, a former inmate at the county
jail, were both well known to
local law enforcement officials.
On one arrest record, a. state po-
lice trooper wrote "thief" in the
space provided for Jimmy's oc-
cupation. -
The Loomises moved to their
present home in 1961, hoping the
change in neighborhood would
be good for the family. But Dar-
rell didn't do well at his new
school, and soon began skipping
classes. This brought his first
contact with the law, and from
there on, things only got -worse.
"You name it, he did it," says
a social worker who knew Dar-
rell then. "Malicious destruction
f property, breaking andhenter-
them all."
At first society's approach to
Darrell's delinquency was reme-
dial, not punitive, but as Dar-
rell failed to respond to the
treatment he received in t h e
child guidance clinics and then
the juvenile homes, the juvenile
court began taking a tougher
After going through the Huron
4The Centic

Valley Child Guidance Clinic,
and several juvenile, detention
centers, including the Boys' Re-
public at Farmington, Darrell
was finally committed in 1968
to the W.J. Maxey Boys' Train-
ing School, a sprawling deten-
tion camp housing some 600
young offenders.
Soon afterwards, his conduct
caused him to be transferred
across the street to BTS's max-
imum security Greenoaks Cent-
er. where he spent three years.
For -the first part of his stay
at Greenoakg, Darrell did very
poorly. There was, BTS officials
say, "one incident after anoth-
er." He ran away from Green-
oaks, only to be recaptured and
returned there by the police ;
he stole and he generally raised
Last November, however, coun-
selors began noticing a n e w
attitude in Darrell. For the first
time he began to exhibit a sense
of responsibility for his behav-
ior and he worked closely with
a" resident social worker, Swee
Huang. By April, school offic-
ials had come to the conclusion
that "there was nothing else we
~ - NO ,

could do for him" and ordered
Darrell released.
"The prognosis over the long
term was not all that good, but
keeping him locked up was doing
no good," explains one Green-
oaks official.
Greenoaks did not release Dar-
rell into the world completely
alone. He was. put in the care
of a county social services de-
partment aftercare worker
James Blodgett.
Blodgett recalls Darrell was
"trying to lead a straight life,
at least initially," following his
discharge from Greenoaks. To
begin with, Darrell tried to find
work with his hands.
An artist and woodworker at

It was, however, while await-
ing transportation to court for
arraignment on this charge that
Darrell made a mistake t h a t
landed him in jail for the next
45 days. With his typical brav-
ado, Darrell escaped, slipping
out of the handcuffs that secur-
ed him to a chain in the state
police post.
He was free only hours before
he was arrested once more and
charged with escaping f r o m
police custody. The police made
this one stick, and Darrell didn't
come out of what State Police
Staff Sgt. Fay Johnson c a 11 s
"Harvey's' Hotel" until Sept. 7.
But Darrell was not to be free
for long when he left the County







"As far as we are concerned, there is no such
thing as a warning shot. It's impossible to know
where the bullet might come down."

re BookshopJ

Greenoaks, Darrell attempted to
join the carpenters union but
was turned down. Blodgett ex-
plains, "The positions are limit-
ed, and the competition great,"
Looking back, Blodgett feels
that the difficulty in finding
work-beyond a few odd jobs at
area car washes and gas sta-
tions - sapped whatever resolve
Darrell might have had.
Another diversion from Dar-
rell's self-proclaimed intention
of going straight was automo-
biles. Although Darrell never
took a driver's examination or
possessed a license, he n e v e r
let that deter him from driving
cars - including those which
didn't belong to him.
Darrell was issued nine tick-
ets for moving violations b e -
tween April 21, 1971, six days
after his release from G r e e n-
oaks, and July 8.
Darrell's record went b e y o n d
driving offenses however. On
June 27, he was arrested by the
State Police on a charge of con-
tributing to the delinquency of
a minor, a charge later dismissed
by the prosecutor.
On July 25 Darrell was again
arrested, this time on a charge
of larceny from a building. This
charge also was dismissed.

Jail that day. Upon his return
home he found his '67 Ford Mus-
tang convertible missing. He
went to the state police p o s t
to file a report, and was prompt-
ly arrested for non-appearance
in court on the nine traffic
"He had been meaning to take
care of\ those tickets when he
got out of jail," says his moth-
er Doris, "but as soon as he gets
out they lock him up again for
failure to appear in court. How
could he appear in court if he
was in jail? They knew where
he was."
So Darrell sat out the remain-
der of the month in jail. He was
finally released on Monday, Oct.
In the clear again, Darrell in-
tended to "take things easy for
a while," according to his moth-
er. He spent Monday and Tues-
day visiting his old friends, see-
ing Sandy Mullins, his girl
friend, and buying some n e w
clothes - green cotton bell bot-
toms and a metallic green shirt.
Darrell spent the early part of
Wednesday, Oct. 7. at home,
playing with his sister's two
small children - "he loved the
kids," says Janice. In the late
afternoon he visited Sandy at

the house where she was baby-
sitting on Michigan Ave. in Yp-
That evening, Darrell visited
with a close friend- f o r m e r
fellow inmate at the Boys'
Training School Jerry Salisbury
- and his sister Jackie Wald-
At 11:45 p.m., Salisbury and
his sister, drove Darrell home,
they say. It may not have been
that late-Sandy says she talked
to Darrell on the phone at
about 10, after he got home, and
his mother says she saw Darrell
before she went to bed at about
The last few hours in Dar-
rell's life become a puzzle. At
some time he left the house,
either to steal the car, or to
meet his friend who had. The
police feel the car was stolen at
approximately midnight.
It was also at midnight that
Trooper Duane Wolak and his
partner, Trooper Barry Beck,
swung their blue Plymouth
cruiser out ofithe parking lot of
the state police post on Michi-
gan Ave.
Trooper Beck was at the
wheel, Wolak was radio opera-
tor, It was Wolak's last spell
on the midnight shift for a
while, and there was a long
weekend holiday and a return
to day-shift coming up for him;
perhaps some more time to
spend with his wife and three
A veteran of the state police
since Nov. 1963, Wolak joined
the force after completing a
tour of duty with the Air Force.
He was transferred to the Ypsi-
lanti Post in August.
At about 1:35 a.m., the two
troopers were on patrol near
Val's Market, the scene of fre-
quent armed robberies, when
they observed a darkened car
moving across the recently com-
pleted unopened Harris Rd. ov-
They gave chase, turning on
their red toplight. The car took
off, the police in pursuit, and
fled east on Ecorse Rd. to the
U.S. 12 by-pass.
Darrell was heading for home
and the roads he knew well. The
troopers kept right after the

Daily-Cathy Gutheil
DARRELL LOOMIS was shot near the Hydramatic plant on Ecorse Rd. in Ypsilanti. With the police
in pursuit. Darrell sped the wrong-way on the U.S. 12-Ecorse Rd. by-pass. He then made a sharp left
turn down a gravel road into the Hydramatic property. Driving into a woods, (1), he and his
friend abandoned the stolen car. Darrell ran to (2) where he was shot. His companion ran into the
woods at (3) and disappeared. The Loomis home is located at (4), down the street from (5) the
home of the neighbor whose car was stolen.

car. In their report, the troop-
ers said.their speedometer reg-
istered over 120 mph during the
chase, as they raced to Michigan
Ave. There Darrell made an-
other U-turn about a mile into
Wayne Co. before heading back
towards Ypsilanti, on the wrong
side of the road.
In an effort to shake off his
pursuers, who had radioed for
help and had every available
police unit for miles rushing to
their aid, Darrell sped into the
Hydramatic Plant parking lot,
U-turned yet again, and headed
out, west on Ecorse Rd.
At the western end of the Hy-
dramatic property, Darrell made
a sharp left turn and headed
down a gravel road. The road
was barricaded by a chain link
fence-the stolen car went
through the fence, followed by
the police cruiser, into a wooded
area of the plant on the South
side of Ecorse Rd.
Darrell and his companion
jumped from their car, as did
the police, and headed into the
woods. Wolak followed Darrell
to the east, where he says he
twice warned him to stop; and
fired one shot from his service


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revolver at a distance of 50 feet.
That was all it took. Beck fol-
lowed the other suspect to the
South, and lost him in the trees.
The death of Darrell Loomis
caused shock and grief to some,
and elicited reluctant accept-
ance by others. Even some of
those who knew Darrell find it
hard to condemn the trooper
"for just doing his job," while
others feel strongly that not
only did the trooper overreact,
but that he killed Darrell de-
Staff Sgt. Fay Johnson, com-
mander of the Ypsilanti state
police post, discounts this lat-
ter allegation as nonsense. He
points out that trooper Wolak
did not even know Darrell Loo-
mis. A request for an interview
with trooper Wolak and his
partner was denied.
"He was a good kid, always
polite and courteous. He just sat.
in the corner and he was very
respectful, but if I'd seen him
steal my car and I'd had my
gun. I would sure as, hell have
shot him," says one, man who
knew Darrell well.
Doris and Everett Loomis
find it hard to dispel their fears

§ §
§ Flair trousers just right for the casual effect without
§ exaggeration. Corbin riding pockets, wider waistband
§ §
§ §
§ and belt loops. §
§ §
§ §
§ §
§ §
§§ Double knits and worsteds.
From $23 to $40.

that the "police had .it in for
Everett is stunned by the
killing for yet another reason.
"I'd always thought they were
meant. to fire a warning shot
first," he says. "They had no
right to shoot to kill,"
State Police Director Col.
John R. Plants disagrees. "As
far as we are concerned there
is no such thing as a warning
shot," he says. State Police Det.
Sgt. Kenneth Ruonavaara says:
"Its impossible to know where
the bullet might come down" if
a warning shot is fired. It was
"unfortunate," the ,State Police
say, it was "unlucky" that Dar-
rell was killed. Normally, the
State Police like to shoot to
only wound, they- say.
"Trooper Wolak acted within
the rules and regulations of this
department," insists Staff Sgt.
Johnson. "I have completed my
investigation and I am satis-
fied with his conduct that
night," Sgt. Johnson adds.
The County Prosecutor also
has completed his investigation,
and he is satisfied too,
- Although state law entitles
officers to shoot and kill felons
fleeing from the scene of a
crime-no matter what their
age -there will be many in
Washtenaw Co. who will be dis-
satisfied with the official ver-
dict. They will not have the
support of the law in the strug-
gle for their version of justice.
And so the matter rests. As
for Darrell, perhaps he can best
be described in the words of
Catharine Mudie, a county so-
cial worker who knew him: "He
didn't seem to learn from ex-
For the student body:
# Levi
A Farah
n Wright
'# Lee
A Male
State. Street at Liberty

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