Wayne Rennie charged after police cars rammed in Winnipeg
Dangerous driving, mischief and flight from police are among charges
"We had radio contact with him for a while," said Bill Murray, owner of B&R Transfer, where Wayne Rennie worked.
Rennie, 24, is now facing a number of charges, including dangerous driving, assaulting a peace officer with a weapon, mischief and flight from police.
"It boggles our mind," Const. Jason Michalyshen, a Winnipeg police spokesperson, told reporters on Tuesday.
"I think everyone in the community that observed this, people who are reading the story, I think are all scratching their heads and going, 'Wow.'"
Police said the cars were rammed about two hours after Rennie had been stopped by police near the Health Sciences Centre and ticketed for using a cellphone while driving.
Rennie objected to the ticket but eventually drove off, according to police.
Then just after 11 a.m. CT Monday, a five-tonne truck smashed into the police cars over and over just outside the Public Safety Building, causing $80,000 to $100,000 in damage.
"We're not reporting any major injuries today, we're talking about property damage. I think that's the silver lining," Michalyshen said.
After the truck hit the police cars, the driver sped from the scene, leading city police and RCMP on a chase west of the city on the Trans-Canada Highway.
"They were trying to communicate with him, too, but he didn't want anything to do with anybody."
Winnipeg police said that during the pursuit, the truck crossed into the westbound lanes, going in the opposite direction to traffic, and drove head on at an oncoming RCMP cruiser near the town of Headingley.
The officer driving the cruiser was forced "to take immediate evasive action" to avoid a collision, police said.
The truck kept going and police put out spike belts to blow out the tires and try to stop it. The vehicle was eventually stopped at about 1:30 p.m., about 100 kilometres west of Winnipeg.
A dozen charges have been laid against Rennie, including:
- Five counts of mischief.
- Two counts of assaulting a peace officer with a weapon.
- Dangerous operation of motor vehicle.
- Flight from a peace officer.
- Resisting a peace officer.
- Failing to stop at the scene of an accident.
- Failing to comply with a probation order.
He remains in police custody.
Employees at B&R Transfer told CBC News they were surprised one of their employees has been charged in Monday's incident. They described Rennie as a solid worker who had a good attitude.
Convictions date back to 2010
Rennie has convictions dating back to 2010 for assault, obstruction of justice, failing to comply with a no-contact order and mischief.
The mischief conviction stems from a 2012 incident in which Rennie vandalized his own car — a 1998 Honda Accord EX-V6 — and filed a claim with Manitoba Public Insurance for more than $3,000 worth of damage, according to court documents obtained by CBC News.
Rennie was also charged with assault, uttering threats and disobeying court orders in 2012 and 2013, but those charges were stayed.
At least one protection order against Rennie was granted, according to court documents.