Centre of Gravity not a source of Kelowna Mounties' frustration

Kelowna's population boomed over August long weekend, but it amounted to little stress for area Mounties.

"From Friday to Sunday we had about 650 files for the entire city," said Const. Kris Clark. "It's a fairly high amount… but over the long weekend there's 30,000 extra people, so I don't think that it's unusual."

Hot weather and a couple large-scale events lured the masses to the city, but it was the sports and music festival Centre of Gravity that had the biggest impact.

Downtown streets and the lakeshore were teeming with the  7,000 or so festival revellers, yet it wasn't a pronounced source of stress for Mounties.

Only 35 police files were associated to the park it was held and only two of the complaints logged look like they'll amount to charges being laid, said Clark, noting they had extra police patrols and a contingent from the Integrated Gang Task force to keep on top of matters.

Paramedics, however, had a harder go of it.

"BC Ambulance was very busy," said Clark.

"The vast majority of incidents police were called to deal with were alcohol or drug induced intoxication with many people being sent to the hospital due to the severity of their state."

Overall, however, Clark said that it was a successful event.

"I was working Sunday at the event and I was having a great time," he said.

Outside the festival perimeters and hours, however, there were a few more problems.

Drunks getting behind the wheel offered a few enforcement challenges,  and one in particular stood out to Clark.

A 42 year old Kelowna man is facing multiple potential charges after fleeing from a police roadblock and refusing to provide a breath sample.

A Central Okanagan Traffic Services member was conducting a roadblock at Abbott Street and Leon Avenue when he checked the driver of a Ford Explorer, Aug. 4 at 1:42 a.m.

"The police officer noticed an overwhelming odour of liquor and signs of impairment from the man, and directed him to pull to the side of the road.," said Clark.

"The man (identified as Craig Russell Thomas) then sped away, amongst hundreds of pedestrians, before jumping out of the vehicle and attempting to flee on foot. The man was captured by police and transported to the detachment but refused to provide breath samples. The man was found to have no driver’s license due to a previous impaired conviction and was on conditions not to consume liquor.

Thomas  faces charges of Obstruction, Dangerous Driving, Fail or Refuse to Provide a Breath Sample and Fail to Comply with Probation Order.


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