RCMP used a spike belt to immobilize the vehicle of an alleged dangerous and suspected impaired driver Thursday in Lake Country.
On Oct. 12 a short time after 10:30 a.m., the Kelowna RCMP received a report of a possible impaired driver who had been seen, by members of the public, driving erratically along Highway 97 in Kelowna.
Traffic enforcement officers quickly located and performed a traffic stop with that suspect vehicle, a Honda Civic, in the area of Highway 97 near Leathead Road, according to RCMP.
During the officer’s initial interaction with the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, he detected obvious signs and symptoms that the man’s ability to operate his vehicle in a safe manner was grossly affected by an intoxicating substance. Within moments of being stopped the suspect put his vehicle into gear and fled northbound on the highway toward Lake Country, according to the RCMP.
The suspect vehicle was not pursued by officers on the ground, as the Kelowna RCMP Air Services Section fixed wing aircraft was immediately engaged and monitored the suspect from sky.
Due to the allegedly dangerous driving behaviour witnessed by the air craft pilot, and the risk to the safety of the public, officers made two unsuccessful attempts to immobilize the suspect’s vehicle with a spike belt.
“Officers were successful in their third attempt of deploying a spike belt, on Highway 97 near Oceola Road in Lake Country, which effectively deflated the tires of the suspect vehicle,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey. “Uniformed and plain clothed officers from the Kelowna and Lake Country RCMP, supported by the RCMP Central Okanagan Traffic Services converged on the vehicle and subsequently took the man into police custody without further incident. Police have seized undisclosed quantities of suspected illicit drugs during the man’s arrest.”
The driver, a 34-year-old Vernon man, faces several potential charges. He remains in police custody at this time.
A demand has been made to the driver who has since been taken to the Kelowna Regional RCMP Detachment for testing. A specially trained, drug recognition expert with the Kelowna RCMP has been called upon to conduct a drug influence evaluation.
If you witnessed this incident and have not yet spoken to police you are asked to contact Cst. Brad Smith of the Kelowna RCMP Municipal Traffic Section at 250-762-3300.