Coombs was the scene of a dramatic police incident on Wednesday morning. Oceanside RCMP Sergeant Darrell Robertson reported the following details to me over the phone this afternoon:
At approximately 11:10 AM, an RCMP officer travelling west-bound on the Alberni Highway in Coombs passed a vehicle travelling east-bound that matched the description of a vehicle suspected to be involved in an art theft that had occurred in Qualicum Beach approximately fifteen minutes earlier. The RCMP officer made a U-turn to follow the suspect vehicle in an attempt to confirm the license plate number from behind. The suspect vehicle then turned 180 degrees and moved into the east-bound (on-coming traffic) lane, accelerating towards the police vehicle that had been following it. The police vehicle moved to the side of the road to avoid a collision, while the suspect vehicle veered away as it approached. The suspect vehicle then made a second U-turn and then rammed the police vehicle from behind forcing the police car into a non-offending vehicle. The police car stopped in the roadway, and the suspect vehicle ended up in the ditch on the north-side of the highway. A second non-offending vehicle was also struck in the accident.
The RCMP officer observed two individuals exiting the suspect vehicle, and she initiated a high-risk take-down, meaning that she drew a weapon. Suspects were directed to the ground. Back-up had been called and reportedly arrived on scene very quickly, within two minutes according to witness Alf Bergkvist of “A” Company Military Surplus. Bergkvist heard screeching and loud “bangs” at the time of the cash, but initial reports of a “gun fight”, reported by the Oceanside Star on Twitter, were premature. Within five minutes, the Oceanside Star tweeted that the RCMP had confirmed that no shots were fired.
A 47 year-old woman has been arrested for possession of stolen property, and a 40 year-old male has been arrested for dangerous driving. Both are reportedly residents of the Qualicum Beach area. Sgt. Robertson reminds us that the offenses the suspects have been charged with are not necessarily the charges that will be recommended to Crown council, and that the investigation is on-going.
The Alberni Highway was closed from Station Road (or Ford Road, as reported by at least one source) to Errington Road until about 4PM so that a collision analyst could investigate the scene. The suspects were treated by BC ambulance before being taken to the Oceanside RCMP detachment. One RCMP member and the driver of one of the non-involved vehicles were taken to hospital for non-life threatening injuries, and the driver of the second non-involved vehicle was treated at the scene.Sources: Sergent Darrell Robertson of Oceanside, Alf Bergkvist, Twitter (@OceansideStar, @ScanBC), and the PQB News. Disclosure: Individuals are innocent until proven guilty. To the best of my knowledge, I have no known interest (financial or otherwise) with the individuals, businesses and organizations involved in this incident. Updated to add disclosure on February 3, 2012.