New Brunswick

Accused in backhoe low-speed highway chase faces 7 charges

A man from Alberta, accused of leading police on a drunken low-speed chase in a backhoe on the Trans-Canada Highway near Fredericton early Tuesday morning, is facing seven charges.

Thomas Therrien Chiasson, 27, from Alberta, remanded in custody in Fredericton

The backhoe that was part of a 10 km/h RCMP chase received major damage. (Redmond Shannon/CBC)

A man from Alberta accused of leading police on a drunken low-speed chase in a backhoe on the Trans-Canada Highway near Fredericton early Tuesday morning is facing seven charges.

A suspected drunk driver in a backhoe took the RCMP on a low-speed chase on Tuesday morning. The backhoe created a line of slow-moving vehicles on the highway. (TD McGuire/Twitter)

Thomas Therrien Chiasson, 27, of no fixed address appeared in Fredericton provincial court on Tuesday afternoon.

He was charged with:

  • Dangerous driving.
  • Impaired driving.
  • Refusing a breathalyzer demand.
  • Possession of stolen property over $5,000.
  • Mischief over $5,000.
  • Evading a police officer.
  • Breaching a court order in British Columbia.

RCMP Const. Derek Black said police were called about a backhoe, without any lights on, driving westbound on the Trans-Canada Highway about 25 kilometres west of Fredericton at 3:40 a.m.

Officers made several attempts to get the backhoe to pull over, but the driver refused to comply, he said.

During the pursuit, the backhoe swerved several times, striking the guard rail, said Black.

The backhoe used in the chase was similar to the model pictured above. (Redmond Shannon/CBC)

The chase finally ended near King's Landing, where police put down a spike belt.

Black said the Fredericton Police Force assisted the RCMP in getting the backhoe to finally stop.

Once the backhoe was brought to a halt, Black said a man was arrested.

Black said alcohol is believed to be a factor.

No one was injured, but Ross Mathers, a spokesman for MRDC, the company that maintains the highway from Long's Creek to Moncton, said the backhoe hit the guard rail in at least three places.

He estimates it will cost $5,000 to $8,000 to fix the damage to the guardrail, and added that the backhoe also did some damage to the asphalt.

The backhoe also sustained damaged, police said.

The accused, whose last known address was in Red Deer, Alta., has been remanded in custody.

Chiasson is scheduled to return to Fredericton court on Wednesday at 11 a.m. for a bail hearing.