Prince County man in jail after 2 police chases involving stolen pickup truck
Same vehicle, separate chases in Summerside and Kensington
Following two chases Monday involving a pickup truck that was reported stolen, police in western P.E.I. located and arrested a 21-year-old Prince County man.
It began at 7 a.m. Monday. Summerside Police received a report of a break-in and theft at Superior Sanitation on Industrial Crescent. A large quantity of tools was reported stolen along with a Ford F-350 pickup truck.
At 10 a.m., Summerside Police spotted the truck travelling east on Route 2 near the Slemon Park roundabout. They attempted to stop the truck but the driver fled. Sgt. Jason Blacquiere, with Summerside Police, said the driver was going over 100 km/h and putting others on the road at risk. Police then decided the pursuit was too dangerous to the public and stopped the chase.
"The driver was driving at high speeds and weaving in and out of traffic. For safety reasons our officers called off the pursuit," Blacquiere said. "Public safety is always number one. We don't want anyone getting hurt and then the safety of the officers and the other people involved."
Driver headed toward Kensington
The pickup continued east into Kensington, where local police again attempted a stop.
Kensington Police Chief Lewis Sutherland said when he tried to pull the truck over on Route 2, the driver picked up his speed and drove off the highway into a residential neighbourhood.
"I could see that the vehicle wasn't going to stop," Sutherland said. "He went fast and he was starting to slide a little bit."
Sutherland said the driver was going over 80 km/h in a 40 zone. He said he was concerned for the safety of the people in the neighbourhood and also decided to stop the chase.
"It's not a safe place for a police pursuit whatsoever so I shut it down," he said. "You have to consider the safety of the people in the homes and the people walking on the streets."
K-9 unit brought in
Police say about an hour later both Kensington and Summerside police services continued searching with the help of an RCMP K-9 team.
The truck was eventually located in a driveway in nearby Burlington with the driver inside.
Blacquiere said the driveway was long, but an officer was able to spot the truck from the road.
Once more, the driver attempted to escape but this time police were able to block the vehicle in with a cruiser, and the driver was arrested and taken into custody.
"It was narrow to the point ... where the stolen vehicle would have had to have rammed the police car or go off road and the driver luckily chose to stop," Blacquiere said.
He is facing two charges of dangerous driving, two charges of flight from police and one charge of break, enter and theft. The driver appeared in court in Summerside Tuesday to be formally charged and is now in jail. He is due back in court April 11.
Police said they recovered property from the vehicle that is believed to be stolen from other break-ins in the Prince County area and they expect to lay further charges.