Suspect allegedly sprays police with bear spray before arrest

Police say incident began with chase in Red Deer and ended up in Penhold last night

A 31-year-old Red Deer man will face a number of charges after allegedly fleeing Red Deer RCMP in a stolen truck last night, driving to Penhold on the rims after police flattened his tires, and allegedly assaulting Innisfail and Blackfalds RCMP members with bear spray before being arrested.

The incident began in Red Deer shortly after 6 p.m. when RCMP located a stolen truck parked in a lot on 67th St. RCMP laid a tire deflation device behind the blue Dodge Ram and approached the truck. The suspect behind the wheel allegdly struggled with the arresting police officer and fled the scene, flattening both back tires on the truck as he drove over the tire deflation device. Police say the driver fled at high speeds and Red Deer RCMP did not pursue for public safety reasons.

RCMP immediately began to receive a number of public reports of a blue Dodge Ram driving erratically and dangerously, often in the wrong lane facing oncoming traffic and reportedly running a number of red lights. The truck allegedly struck a car in a roundabout at 67th St. and Orr Drive and kept going. The driver of the car was not injured. Red Deer RCMP moved into place to intercept the truck again and laid a second tire deflation device on Gaetz Avenue near 19th St., but the truck avoided it and continued to speed away.

As the truck left Red Deer heading toward Penhold, Innisfail RCMP moved to intercept it. The truck was allegedly driving on rims at this point, causing gouge marks to the pavement as it sped into Penhold, where the rims broke apart completely. Police officers from Innisfail RCMP, Blackfalds RCMP and Police Dog Services all contributed in arresting the suspect when police say he abandoned the truck and attempted to enter a Jeep that was parked at a gas station. During his arrest, the suspect allegedly sprayed five police officers with bear spray, but the police officers made a successful arrest despite the effects of the bear spray.

No citizens were injured in this series of events; Red Deer, Innisfail and Blackfalds members suffered minor injuries as a result of struggles with the suspect or being sprayed with bear spray. The blue Dodge Ram had been reported stolen out of Red Deer on Aug. 22nd, and the license plate on it had been reported stolen separately out of Red Deer on Aug. 27th.

“Blackfalds, Red Deer and Innisfail RCMP and Police Dog Services all worked collaboratively to bring this incident to a conclusion without harm or loss of life,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Matechuk of the Innisfail RCMP. “The potential for tragedy was extremely high in this situation, and this is a solemn reminder of the tremendous danger criminals in stolen vehicles pose to our communities and to the police who work so hard to apprehend them.”

RCMP will release an update with the suspect’s name and the charges against him once those charges have been sworn before the courts.

– Fawcett

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