A dramatic crash which involved an alleged assault suspect and a marked RCMP police vehicle stalled traffic on Ellis Street for nearly two hours Friday morning.
Kelowna RCMP initially responded at 8:15 a.m. to a report of an assault allegedly committed in the alleyway of the 1200 block of Ellis Street. Police had also received a report of a robbery committed near the intersection of Ellis Street and Cawston Avenue.
Police have determined that the alleged suspect, who was reportedly behaving very irrationally, had assaulted a West Kelowna man in the alleyway behind Prospera Place, after the man refused to turn over his keys. The suspect fled on foot towards Ellis Street when associates of the victim came to his aid.
It’s alleged that the suspect then stole a child’s backpack being carried by the child’s father. The suspect allegedly assaulted the father, a 45-year-old man in front of his 8-year-old daughter, before fleeing the second scene in a grey Ford sedan.
An RCMP officer who was stationary in the area of Ellis Street and the Queensway bus loop, had been approached by civilian witnesses who reported the assaults to the officer. The officer who turned his vehicle to respond to the scene of the alleged assaults, was broadsided by the alleged suspect vehicle believed to be fleeing the area.
Preliminary information from witness accounts suggest that the suspect vehicle may have accelerated prior to the impact. Witnesses also report that the suspect exited his vehicle after the crash and advanced on the police officer from the passenger side of the vehicle and then through the open driver’s side window of the police vehicle.
“Nearby construction workers were quick to jump into action to assist the police officer still stunned from the impact of the collision,” said Kelowna RCMP Cst. Jesse O’Donaghey. “They aided the officer in controlling the suspect who was subsequently taken into police custody.”
“The Kelowna RCMP wish to extend their gratitude to all those who immediately jumped into action, who stepped up and put themselves at risk to help the RCMP officer.”
The suspect sustained minor non-life threatening injuries during the collision. He had been transported to hospital as a precaution.
The police officer was also taken to hospital suffering from non-life threatening injuries. The officer has since been released and continues to recover.
The Kelowna RCMP Municipal Traffic Section has assumed conduct of the crash investigation, aided by an RCMP collision reconstructionist who is conducting a detailed analysis of the scene.
The Kelowna RCMP continue to investigate the string of violent incidents that led to the crash. The suspect, a 42-year-old man of Chase, remains in police custody under investigation for the various alleged offences. He faces potential charges of assault, robbery, aggravated assault, assault of a police officer and resist lawful arrest.
If you witnessed this crash or the preceding alleged assaults and have not yet spoken to police you are asked to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300. Remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.