A man was arrested in Okanagan Falls following an erratic drive in a stolen truck. Western News file photo

Man ditches stolen truck and tries to swim away from Penticton RCMP

The Penticton RCMP arrested a man in Okanagan Falls on Tuesday in a stolen truck

A man driving a stolen truck erratically on three popped tires ditched the vehicle and jumped into Skaha Lake attempting to swim away from police before he was apprehended.

Gregory Montague was arrested in Okanagan Falls on July 25 and pleaded guilty the following day to theft over $5,000, failure to stop for the police and dangerous driving.

RCMP said on July 25 at 6:10 p.m. a resident of Penticton reported her grey 2006 Ford F-350 had been stolen from the Walmart parking lot. Shortly after, at 7 p.m., an employee at the Okanagan Correction Centre in Oliver contacted the Penticton RCMP and reported an unknown male had attended their facility to drop off an item for an inmate in the stolen truck.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said members of the Penticton Target Enforcement Unit initiated patrols toward Oliver and members observed the stolen truck travelling north on Highway 97 near Vaseaux Lake with a single male occupant.

“A spike belt was successfully deployed at Highway 97 and Weyerhauser Road which resulted in three tires on the truck being deflated. The male driver did not stop for police after driving over the spike belt and continued to drive another 2.6 kilometres through residential streets in Okanagan Falls and on Highway 97,” he said in a press release. “The truck came within several feet of hitting a fire hydrant and a commercial building, ran two stop signs, almost struck pedestrians and forced one vehicle on the highway to serve around it.”

Montague stopped the truck approximately 1.5 kilometres north of Okanagan Falls and fled into the thick brush on the west side of the highway. He was spotted approximately 10 minutes later running toward Skaha Lake on the east side of the highway.

Montague was eventually arrested after attempting to swim away from members for approximately 20 minutes in the lake. He provided RCMP a false name when he was arrested, however, a search of the truck located documents in his real name and a small amount of methamphetamine, an open bottle of alcohol and multiple pliers.

Montague was sentenced to 12 months in jail and a three year driving prohibition.