High-speed chase involving stolen Winnipeg police car ends with arrest of 2 suspects
Winnipeg police face backlog of 300 calls after sending large number of officers to 'significant incident'
A high-speed chase involving a stolen Winnipeg police cruiser ended after a previous vehicle theft and attempted carjacking Thursday.
What police described as a "significant event" began at about 2:30 a.m., when officers encountered a stolen vehicle in the North End of Winnipeg.
A number of police cruisers and the police Air1 helicopter tracked it to the Flying J gas bar in Headingley, just west of Winnipeg, where the incident escalated.
Officers hopped out of a police cruiser when they saw what appeared to be a carjacking in process at the gas station, Const. Rob Carver said.
Police chased two people from the area on foot. One of them circled back and stole the officers' police cruiser, which still had the key in its ignition, Carver said.
"Having been a police officer for over 25 years, if I think someone is in danger over there and I jump out out my car, I don't think the person over there whose life is in danger wants …me to wait, make sure I stop the car and pull the keys out," Carver said.
"I'm gonna get out to save someone's life."
Winnipeg police arrested a suspect at the Headingley Flying J.
Police and the RCMP chased the stolen police vehicle west toward Portage la Prairie before catching and arresting a second suspect near the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 26.
A Winnipeg police cruiser with a blown tire was seen near another Flying J just east of Portage la Prairie, where a group of investigators canvassed the scene, Portage Online reports.
The people in the vehicle that was nearly carjacked at the Headingley gas station received medical attention but don't have any known lasting injuries, Carver said.
At least three damaged vehicles were towed from the gas bar, but Carver said he couldn't confirm they were damaged during the incident.
At some point during the pursuit, Air1 pilots opted to land in a field to fuel up rather than return to the police hangar, Carver said, because fuel stores were low in the helicopter.
"The speed at which this unfolded, the amount of police resources that were required, I can say that I've never seen anything like it," Carver said. "Everyone in the police service is stunned at how this unfolded."
The incident resulted in a backlog of more than 300 calls for service, Carver said.
"The huge amount of police resources had been required partly because of the extended scene, partly because of what was unfolding," Carver said. "We had to make sure everyone was safe."
He said he can only vaguely recall one other instance in his 25 years on the Winnipeg police force when a civilian got into a police cruiser, though he couldn't say if that person drove off.
Carver did not say what charges could be laid and he didn't provide the names or ages of the accused.
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With files from Nelly Gonzalez