Additional details released in McDonough bond violation

Police records show McDonough purchasing alcohol after bond conditions set

THREE RIVERS — New information on the bench warrant arrest of St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough for violating bond conditions has come to light.

According to police investigation records obtained by the Commercial-News via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request Tuesday, McDonough was buying alcohol days after his bond conditions were set by visiting judge Vincent Westra in St. Joseph County 3B District Court July 24.

Part of McDonough’s bond conditions were that he cannot purchase, possess or consume intoxicants or controlled substances nor visit a retailer whose primary business is the sale of alcohol.

The bench warrant was issued Monday, with McDonough posting bond. He is scheduled for arraignment on the bond violation Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in St. Joseph County 3B District Court.

According to the police records, the department’s detective was initially asked by Police Chief Tom Bringman back on Aug. 10 to look into allegations of McDonough violating the bond conditions. Bringman told the detective he was approached by District Court judges Jeffrey Middleton and Robert Pattinson with the allegations, and wanted the allegations investigated by TRPD due to McDonough living in Three Rivers.

An anonymous tip then came into the department from someone who stated they were at Little Caesar’s on North Main Street and saw McDonough leaving Northside Beverage with “a black bag the size of an alcohol container.” The incident, the caller stated, happened on Aug. 3 at 6 p.m.

The detective then made contact with Northside and owner Tim Brundige. He said McDonough was a “regular customer” who always bought Maker’s Mark whiskey from the store. After McDonough was hospitalized, Brundige told the detective, his sale of Maker’s Mark stopped, and shortly after McDonough’s release, “the sales began again.”

On Aug. 28, the detective again made contact with Northside, with Brundige telling the detective he had “errored out the flash drive in an attempt to reformat it after he recorded the wrong time,” and that he nor his employees had seen McDonough in the store in the last 10 days.

Brundige then told the detective he had “multiple videos” of McDonough coming into the store, but “only felt that him coming in Monday through Friday during normal business hours was a violation.” On Sept. 4, Brundige let the detective know the videos were ready to pick up, as well as a partial list of dates and times when McDonough was in the store buying alcohol.

The video turned over to the detective was from Aug. 12, and the detective was able to identify McDonough as the person in the video buying a “pint size bottle of Maker’s Mark” as well as other drinks.

The police report also details an incident from Aug. 7 where Three Rivers City Manager Joe Bippus witnessed McDonough falling in the driveway at McDonough’s residence, “because he was impaired.” Bippus told the detective McDonough was “dabbing a laceration on his forehead,” and he offered his assistance. McDonough’s wife, Amanda, declined the offer and told Bippus her brother was coming to help.

As Bippus left, he noticed McDonough was then lying on the ground in the driveway. After returning a short time later, he noticed more vehicles in the driveway, and eventually an ambulance from the Three Rivers Fire Department came to the residence. At that time, Bippus told the detective that Amanda came to explain to him that McDonough had “gone out to get dinner and came home drunk.”

The detective then contacted Fire Chief Jeff Bloomfield, who provided him a report, which stated that McDonough told responding paramedics that he had been drinking. The detective then made contact with the responders, who confirmed that the family and McDonough himself admitted to drinking.

McDonough was originally arrested on May 11 in Lockport Township following a crash where alcohol was determined to be a factor. According to police, McDonough allegedly crossed the center line, veered off the roadway and crashed into a fence in the 17000 block of Lovers Lane. No one was injured.

He was charged by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office on June 23 with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and having open intoxicants inside a motor vehicle. McDonough’s trial for that case is set for Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 9 a.m.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or

Three Rivers Commercial-News

124 North Main Street
Box 130
Three Rivers, MI 49093

Telephone: 269-279-7488
Fax: 269-279-6007
General email: