Two suspects are in custody following a high-speed chase Tuesday morning that started in Clinton and ended just south of Williams Lake.
The chase began when Clinton RCMP received a report of two people in a stolen red truck attempting a break-and-enter in the Loon Lake area. When they were confronted, a shot was fired from an occupant of the truck before the suspects fled northbound. The truck was later confirmed to have been stolen from the 100 Mile area.
Clinton RCMP attempted to stop the truck as it headed north on Highway 97 but abandoned the pursuit in the interest of public safety after the vehicle exceeded 120 kms/hour. Ashcroft RCMP, the Provincial Support Team, Central Interior Traffic Services, 100 Mile House RCMP and Williams Lake RCMP were all called to assist.
100 Mile House RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen said police attempted to use spike belts to stop the truck at 93 Mile, but the driver slipped past them after hitting the belt. Witnesses in 100 Mile House later reported seeing the truck with a popped front left wheel and the suspects driving on the rim.
Police locked 100 Mile House down in an effort to secure the town and ensured the community’s safety. At least a half dozen RCMP vehicles were used to block off parts of the highway near the intersection with Horse Lake Road. Officers were seen carrying assault weaponry and watching the roads.
“I know we caused quite a disruption in town just trying to close things off at both ends. That was to limit access to the town in case they came back in our direction. We think that was in the best interests of public safety for residents,” Nielsen said.
Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School was also put on lockdown for 45 minutes as this occurred around lunchtime, principal Geoff Butcher said. While there was no danger to the students, he said the RCMP requested they go on lockdown to avoid students leaving on their lunch break and potentially getting caught up in what was happening on the highway.
“We err on the side of caution with these things and listen to the RCMP,” Butcher said, adding the school followed its standard drill procedures.
The town’s lockdown lasted for about 20 minutes at which time police heard from witnesses that the truck had was continuing north on Highway 97. Police quickly followed the truck, and caught up to it when it another spike belt around 140 Mile and went into a ditch.
In a video taken by a bystander, several officers can be seen confronting and arresting the two suspects, a man and a woman. Nielsen said nobody was injured in the chase and subsequent arrest.
“There are plenty of charges that we are considering through multiple jurisdictions at this point with Clinton RCMP, 100 Mile RCMP and potentially Williams Lake RCMP being involved in that process,” Nielsen said.
The pursuit also involved the BC Conservation Service and 100 Mile and Commercial Vehicle Inspectors. Despite the fast-evolving nature of the situation, he said everyone involved acted appropriately and in consideration of public safety.
Anyone with information or with dashcam footage on this incident is asked to call their local RCMP detachment or the 100 Mile RCMP at 250-395-2456.