A Burnaby man defied police this weekend as he was spotted driving at excessive speeds in three different communities before hitting a police spike strip that flipped his car and ultimately led to his arrest.
At about 8:40 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 15, police said a highway patrol officer observed a vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed on Highway 99, near Alice Lake. Police attempted to stop the driver unsuccessfully and decided not to pursue him at that time out of concern for public safety, said Sgt. Jeff Shore with the Sea to Sky RCMP.
At about 9:30 a.m., the same vehicle was seen speeding northbound in Mount Currie. Again, police attempted to stop the driver to no avail, and again, no pursuit was initiated.
Then, sometime around 11 a.m., Sea to Sky police were notified by Lillooet RCMP that the same vehicle had “passed them at a high rate of speed and failed to stop for them as well,” Shore said. “So the vehicle was seen in Squamish, was seen in Pemberton and was seen in Lillooet.
“In each of those cases, the officers determined the vehicle wasn’t worth pursuing because it’s high-risk to the public and to everyone involved.”
Inexplicably, the driver then made the odd decision to turn around, travelling southbound back to the Sea to Sky. By about 11:30 a.m., he had returned to the Mount Currie area, a sign of just how blisteringly fast he was driving on a route that would typically take in excess of 80 minutes at normal speed. A rough calculation based on driving the 92-kilometre stretch in approximately 30 minutes would put his rate of speed at more than 180 km/h, which is before taking road traffic into account on a busy summer weekend.
“Based on the timeline of when he was in Lillooet and when he was back in Pemberton, he was driving excessively fast even without us pursuing him,” Shore noted. “It seemed as though a crash was inevitable at some point with the amount of people that are going through Whistler, especially on the weekends right now.”
As he approached Mount Currie, Mounties attempted to set up a roadblock, which the suspect again defied. At this point, the decision was made to deploy spike strips, and the vehicle, a rented 2021 Toyota Corolla, struck them just east of Pemberton, blowing out at least two tires, Shore said.
Undeterred, the man continued on, and officers began pursuing him all the way to Cougar Mountain Road, just north of Whistler, where he lost control of the vehicle. The car flipped, landing on its roof.
Police said the 46-year-old exited the vehicle under his own power and was apprehended, before being taken to the Whistler Health Care Centre for treatment. Shore noted he appeared to have only minor injuries.
He was arrested and subsequently released with a future court date, police said.
Shore added it was extremely fortunate that neither the suspect, public nor the officers involved were seriously injured.
“I think this was a serious threat to public safety,” he said. “'Super relieved’ isn’t even enough of a word to express how I feel about the fact that no one was seriously injured.”
Shore said alcohol or drugs were not a factor and there were no outstanding warrants linked to the suspect.
Anyone with additional information on the incident is asked to contact Whistler RCMP at 604-932-3044, or Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or solvecrime.ca to remain anonymous.