On March 4, 1937, Niles Police Chief L. O. Bates and Patrolman Vance Cooper received a report of an unruly passenger with a knife aboard a Greyhound bus en route from Chicago to Niles. The bus pulled over on U.S. Highway 12, 2 ½ miles west of Niles. While removing the suspect, James Crosby, from the bus, Cooper handcuffed himself to Crosby and led him across the street to the patrol car. Once they stepped into the traffic lane, both men were struck by an oncoming motorist identified as Roy Hoadley, of Three Oaks. Bates escaped without injury; however both Cooper and Crosby were struck head-on and carried a great distance down the road. Cooper had just celebrated his 29th birthday the week before.
Patrolman Vance Cooper was born on February 28, 1908 in Cass County, Michigan, and was laid to rest in Silverbrook Cemetery, Niles, Michigan. He left a wife Maxine Cooper, who he married in 1929.