A teenage boy with an infant in a car seat narrowly escaped a carjacking by an escaped prisoner in northern B.C. this week, Northern Rockies RCMP have revealed this morning.
Police released dramatic new details about the police pursuit of Alberta escapee Harley John Lay and his recapture Tuesday in Fort Nelson, B.C.
Lay, 29, escaped custody Monday when a masked man with a handgun confronted two unarmed corrections officers outside the Peace River hospital where Lay had an appointment. A third person acted as getaway driver.
RCMP in Alberta and B.C. launched a manhunt by ground and air for Lay and his companions.
The next day, Lay was spotted 600 kilometres away, near Fort Nelson, B.C., after running out of gas and asking a Husky fuel plant worker for help.
Teen with baby flees carjacking
Earlier this week, RCMP reported Lay and two men were arrested on the Alaska Highway south of Fort Nelson, after a spike belt was placed across the road.
But on Thursday, RCMP Corp. Dan Moskaluk said the spike belt failed to stop Lay, and police abandoned their chase over safety concerns after the getaway van drove into Fort Nelson.
RCMP later found the getaway van outside a Subway restaurant in Fort Nelson, with only a woman inside.
Police allege Lay and another man were nearby, carjacking a truck. A 16-year-old boy driving the truck was ordered out — and was able to flee the vehicle with a baby.
"The young driver luckily was able to remove a small infant and car seat. We're so glad to hear these two didn't car jack the truck with the baby inside," Moskaluk said, calling the incident "harrowing."
Arrested after crashing into ditch
Police say Lay and his companions then crashed the stolen truck in a ditch along the Alaska Highway, but climbed out to try and commandeer another vehicle.
"However, the motorists weren't stopping," said Moskaluk. "They were having nothing to do with picking up these individuals."
RCMP moved in and arrested Lay and two other men.
"At times, we come face to face with these grave incidents that unfold very quickly that put our communities at risk as well as our police officers," said Moskaluk.
"We're all very thankful it didn't result in any injuries when you look at the desperation that these individuals had to evade police. They won't stop at anything to evade capture by police."
Before his escape Lay was being held on remand at the Peace River Correctional Facility.
He was scheduled to go to trial in May on 16 charges, including assaulting an RCMP officer with bear spray, evading police, unlawful confinement, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and four counts of failing to comply with bail conditions. His criminal record dates back to 2004.