Ontario man charged after stolen truck leaves trail of damage in Ottawa

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A man from Brantford, Ont., is facing charges after a dramatic police chase in Ottawa on Wednesday that left a trail of damaged vehicles and shaken witnesses in its wake. The pursuit began at about 11:40 a.m. Wednesday, after Ottawa police were notified by police in Cornwall, Ont., that a man driving a stolen truck might be in Ottawa.

Investigators used GPS to locate the orange pickup truck, but the driver fled police in south Ottawa, crashing into multiple vehicles and a building.

The suspect was arrested about an hour later in the area of St. Laurent Boulevard and Lancaster Road, after investigators found the truck abandoned nearby at the Elmvale Acres Shopping Centre.

A 29-year-old man is charged with:

  • Possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.
  • Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
  • Fleeing police.
  • Obstructing police.
  • Resisting arrest.
  • Aggravated assault of a peace officer.
  • Mischief under $5,000.
  • Driving while disqualified.

He appeared in court Thursday, police said.

Thought it was a nightmare’

Kait Shannon and Hayden Murphy were awakened by crashing sounds outside their first-floor apartment window at 1166 Rockingham Ave, near the Alta Vista neighbourhood, on Wednesday.

“I thought it was a nightmare. It felt like one,” Shannon said. “We just heard all this smashing back and forth. It was like this guy was playing ping pong between the car and the building. It was crazy.”

Murphy said he saw a police officer trying to pull the driver from the truck, then back away as the driver made his escape, smashing into parked cars and the building’s basement laundry room window.

Resident Ryan Burt said he watched as the truck slammed into a black police SUV that had blocked its exit.

“The truck threw it into reverse, backed into the police vehicle, and then the police came out of the vehicle, telling him to stop, put the vehicle off,” Burt said.

“And then the guy threw it into drive, then he [came] up over the grass,” Burt said.

Officer’s gun drawn, witness said

Another witness, Kevin Sawatsky, said the police officer in the black SUV had his gun drawn when he ordered the driver out of the truck.

“He was shouting, ‘Get out of the vehicle! Get out of the vehicle!'” Sawatsky said, before the pickup truck jumped a curb and sped away through an adjacent parking lot, with the police SUV in close pursuit.

Residents say at least half a dozen other police vehicles joined the chase at that point.

“Six or seven cop cars must have shot by” on Rockingham Avenue, Shannon said. “It was a high-speed, intense chase.”

The truck was eventually abandoned near the intersection of St. Laurent Boulevard and Lancaster Road, about a 10-minute drive northeast of Rockingham Avenue.

The suspect was arrested nearby at about 12:40 p.m.

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