Police are still investigating after a man crashed an allegedly stolen vehicle into a cement building on Lochside Drive Dec. 23, causing the car to burst into flames and sending the driver to hospital.
The driver, who was pulled from the burning car by passers-by and is still in hospital with serious injuries, is facing charges of stealing the car, a Cadillac taken from a gas station in Saanich, dangerous driving, failing to stop for police and failing to remain at the scene of a collision.
Sidney North Saanich RCMP reported on Dec. 28 that they and the Central Saanich Police Service collaborated in the attempted apprehension of the driver on Dec. 23 at around 6:20 p.m. They located the car after it had been stolen from the gas station, with the gas hose and nozzle still attached. Police had received calls from the public about the vehicle and its erratic behaviour.
“Upon making initial contact with the driver (at Mt. Newton Cross Road and highway 17), efforts by police to facilitate his compliance were met with defiance,” stated an RCMP media release. “He subsequently fled in the vehicle.”
Police again located the vehicle in the McTavish Road roundabout in North Saanich and the driver fled police again, traveling onto Lochside Drive. The vehicle crashed into a cement building and caught fire.
The RCMP report drugs and alcohol have been ruled out in the case but stated the reasons for the crash are unknown at this time. In the media release, the RCMP stated the Independent Investigations Office — the independent, civilian-led body that conducts investigations into on and off duty police involved incidents that result in death or serious harm) has reviewed the circumstances and will not assume jurisdiction in the case.
“This is a multi-agency criminal investigation involving three different police agencies,” said Sergeant Wayne Conley, commander of the Sidney North Saanich RCMP detachment. “Investigators from all three agencies are working diligently to prepare a report to Crown Counsel.”
— with files from the Sidney North Saanich RCMP