A man wanted on several outstanding warrants was finally arrested Thursday evening after racing his car dangerously through three South Okanagan police jurisdictions before running out of a gas.
On Thursday evening just after 11 p.m., a 21-year-old man in a red Ford SUV was speeding southbound on Highway 71 toward Penticton when a Summerland RCMP officer attempted to stop him.
The driver, alone in the vehicle, ignored the officer and continued south at a high rate of speed.
“In consideration of the safety of both the police officer and the travelling public, the vehicle was not pursued,” said Oliver RCMP Sgt. Ken Harrington in a media release.
Summerland RCMP alerted the Penticton detachment to the south, of the incoming driver. The driver was soon spotted by Penticton officers who then also tried to pull him over without success.
“The driver did not stop and sped away at an even higher rate of speed,” the media release continued. “Again, consistent with current pursuit practices and based on a concern for public safety, the attempt to stop the individual was discontinued.”
Penticton officers gave details of the unfolding incident to Oliver and Osoyoos RCMP further to the south, at which time, they stationed an Oliver RCMP officer north of Oliver on Highway 97.
Around 11:42 p.m., the Oliver RCMP member saw the suspect travelling southbound toward Oliver and clocked the man’s speed at more than 140 km/h in a posted 80 to 90 km/h zone.
A second Oliver RCMP officer in a marked cruiser tried stopping the vehicle, only to have the suspect pull a U-turn and nearly collide headfirst with the cruiser and head back toward the north.
The officer sustained minor injuries, while the uninjured suspect continued northbound toward another waiting police car. The driver then pulled a second U-turn and began driving back south.
“Given the high rate of speed and the driving behaviour, the officers stopped their attempts to pull the vehicle over, eventually losing visual contact with the suspect vehicle,” said the media release.
“Officers from the Oliver and Osoyoos Detachments, supported by plain clothes and PDS members from the Penticton Detachment, then combed the Oliver area looking for the vehicle.”
Plain clothes officers then spotted a “nervous” man filling up a gas can at a 7-11 gas station in Oliver.
“Acting on the odds of probability and police intuition, investigators covertly observed and followed the male who walked away from the pumps and led them back to the suspect vehicle,” said Harrington. “Apparently, a sustained speed of 140+ had quickly emptied the fuel tank of the suspect’s red 2001 Ford Explorer.”
The 21-year-old Kamloops man was arrested and faces a number of criminal code and traffic-related offences. Police also found there were several outstanding warrants for the man’s arrest, initially issued in Manitoba.
Crown prosecutors have agreed to extend jurisdiction on eight outstanding warrants relating to offices such as assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, and failure to appear.
The man will remain in custody until his next court date in Penticton on Monday.