Police evacuated homes in search of border jumper
RCMP plane, search dog and emergency response team hunted for the man
The Yukon RCMP evacuated about eight homes Tuesday night while searching for an American man who jumped the border between Yukon and Alaska.
Jason Echeverri, 29, had earlier escaped from American border officials at the Alcan Post crossing on the north Alaska Highway.
The supervisor at the border crossing said Echeverri tried to cross into Canada but was turned back because of his criminal record.
The U.S. officials checked with state troopers, who said Echeverri wasn't allowed to leave the U.S. under the terms of his probation. They instructed the supervisor to hold Echeverri until troopers arrived to collect him.
Echeverri was apparently compliant for several hours and border agents let him out for bathroom breaks. But later he grew aggressive and there was a tussle in the hallway.
Echeverri broke away and ran outside and up a steep hill.
By the time the officers got to the top of the hill, Echeverri had already run down the bottom of the other side.
Then, he ran into the office, grabbed his car keys and barrelled down the highway towards Canada.
Echeverri described as quiet, polite
Gary Vanderveen unknowingly sold gas to Echeverri at his Destruction Bay, Yukon, highway lodge.
"He had a short haircut with many symbols cut into his hair, but he was very quiet, polite, didn't seem agitated."
Vanderveen said two RCMP cruisers were close behind Echeverri's silver Saturn when he left after getting the fuel.
"He didn't seem to act like he knew they were behind him. Very calm, quiet and wasn't in a big rush, wasn't demanding or anything. Stood in line and waited his turn," said Vanderveen.
Mounties blockaded the Alaska highway between Destruction Bay and Haines Junction, Yukon, and set out a spike belt. Echeverri ran over the belt and flattened all his tires, driving another 30 kilometres before abandoning the vehicle and running into the bush on foot.
An RCMP airplane, search dog and Emergency Response Team hunted for the man, and about eight homes were evacuated.
Cecile Sias spent about four hours in her car with her family after being told to leave her house.
"It kind of made us think 'oh my God’. We think we live out here and it’s safe all the time but I guess this kinda shows up that things can happen. Thankfully they got him and we were told at 9:30 that we could come back home. It was a good feeling to know that they had gotten him — it would have been pretty unnerving to come back and know that he was still in the area," she said.
Echeverri was apprehended without incident at the Arctic Institute Research building near Kluane Lake just after 9 pm.
He has been charged with dangerous driving, evading a police officer, and break and enter.
Echeverri has a lengthy criminal record in the U.S., including several cases of theft. He will appear in Yukon court for a plea next week.