Police had Chemainus Road blocked off between Fir Street and the Oak Street roundabout Tuesday afternoon. The driver of a stolen vehicle involved in a head-on accident fled the scene. Police eventually tracked him down on Willow Street. Accident scene can be seen in the background. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Driver of stolen vehicle caught after fleeing accident scene in Island community

Section of Chemainus Road closed until suspect located and eventually taken into custody

The driver of a stolen vehicle fled from an accident scene in Chemainus Tuesday afternoon, resulting in a foot chase by an off-duty police officer and the use of a dog tracker that eventually led to the arrest of a suspect.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP blocked off Chemainus Road between Fir Street and the Oak Street roundabout around 3:15 p.m. while in pursuit of the suspect.

The off-duty officer came across a two-vehicle collision between a white Ford Ranger and a black Ford Fusion that occurred at Oak Street and Chemainus Road. The driver of the Ford Ranger immediately fled on foot.

The off-duty officer alerted police dispatch about the incident and chased the male on foot into a wooded area of Askew Creek Park nearby.

North Island Traffic Services and multiple units from North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP were quick to respond and set up a containment area. It was soon discovered the Ford Ranger had been reported stolen earlier in the day from the Victoria area.

RCMP Police Dog Services were deployed, alongside a member from the First Nations Policing Section and quickly located items believed to belong to the suspect.

Officers from the Traffic and Community Engagement Unit obtained photographs and witness statements at the scene of the collision. Soon after, officers from the General Investigation Section located a 29-year-old Duncan man matching the description of the suspect near Waterwheel Park on Willow Street in downtown Chemainus.

The man was subsequently taken into custody. The suspect is well-known to police for other offences related to property crime.

The suspect was arrested for Possession of Property obtained by Crime, Failure to Remain at the Scene of an Accident and Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle.

There were five occupants in the Ford Fusion. One female passenger was treated by B.C. Ambulance Services personnel for minor injuries and transported to the Chemainus Health Care Centre. She was treated for the injuries and later released.

“Thanks to the quick action of our members and the collaborative efforts of multiple detachments, units and agencies, this multifaceted investigation garnered positive results,” noted Staff Sgt. Chris Swain, Operations NCO for North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP. “This is a true testament to our members’ great work ethic and teamwork.”

Swain added there was no pedestrian involved, as suggested by some members of the public.

Charges are being recommended to Crown Counsel and the suspect remains in police custody pending a court appearance.

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