BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
When Deputy Eric Overall lost his life stopping a fugitive from Lapeer, he likely saved lives in Clarkston, said Mayor Steven Percival.
“It could have been very tragic for the city, had that vehicle come through downtown Clarkston,” Percival said at the Nov. 27 City Council meeting. “Eric was there trying to prevent that by throwing the spike strips out to stop the vehicle.”
Overall, 50, a 22 year veteran of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, was tragically killed in the line of duty on Nov. 23, at M-15 and Seymour Lake Road in Brandon Township, just north of Independence Township.
He was assisting the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office in a pursuit that had started in Lapeer County.
Christopher Berak, 22, was arraigned on Nov. 25 at the 52-3 District Court on one count of premeditated murder and one count of murder. He was denied bond and remains jailed in Macomb County Jail.
Especially with the holidays here, Percival called on city residents to show support for the family of Deputy Overall.
“I think we as a community should come together for those out there who protect us, at least to show the family we care,” said the mayor. “I would ask we light our front porches with blue lights throughout the month of December.”
Blue lights are available at Clarkston City Hall in Depot Park.
Percival will also work with local non-profit groups to collect donations for the family.
“I would like for us to do as much as we can to raise some funds for his family,” he said. “I’ve set a goal of about $10 for each person living in the city, that’s about $10,000. It’s a high goal, but if we set a high goal, maybe we’ll reach it.”
Deputy Overall was assigned to the Brandon Township Substation, and had also served as a Brandon School District Liaison Officer.
He was recently married with one adult son. He resided in Genesee County.
A GoFundMe Account has been established for Deputy Overall’s family: https://www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-deputy-eric-overall. Visitation was Nov. 27, and funeral service was Nov. 28 at Mt. Zion Church in Independence Township.
The suspect, is a Macomb county resident with four prior convictions for possession of marijuana and conviction for resisting and obstructing police. According to police reports, Berak walked into the Lapeer County Jail on Nov. 22 proclaiming he was god, and requesting the release of one of his followers. He then led police on a 22-mile chase west on I-69 into Genesee County, then south on M-15 into Oakland County.
Assisting in the pursuit, Deputy Overall placed the spikes on M-15 and backed off into a grassy area.
When approaching the intersection, the suspect tapped his brakes, swerved off the roadway, and struck Deputy Overall. Berak was then arrested by Lapeer and Metamora deputies. According to his lawyer, he is being treated for mental health issues. His pretrial date is set for Dec. 4 at 9 a.m.
David Fleet contributed to this report.
BY PHIL CUSTODIO