Wild ride to arrest

A man has been charged with kidnapping and use of a firearm in the commission of an offence after allegedly holding up the driver of a tractor-trailer on Monday.

David Lee Chappell, 33, of the Lower Mainland is alleged to have commandeered a wood-hauling rig near Avola, approximately 67 kilometres northeast of Clearwater.

The incident unfolded after the suspect managed to overpower a police officer during the course of an earlier traffic stop, police said.

Police have also released further details of the Nov. 6 incident which began around 4:16 p.m., when a Clearwater RCMP Traffic Services officer observed a driver slumped behind the wheel of a running vehicle at a rest area on Highway 5, south of Avola.

“The officer suspected that the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was placed in rear of the police vehicle,” said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, RCMP spokesperson. “The 33-year-old suspect managed to get out of the police vehicle, overpowered the officer and fled in the minivan northbound on Highway 5 with the officer following.”

Two drivers were then subjected to some terrifying moments.

About three kilometres south of Blue River, the suspect is alleged to have forced a pickup truck driver to stop.

“The officer pulled up to observe that the suspect was armed with what appeared to be a handgun as the suspect approached the pickup truck. Upon the officer’s arrival, the suspect abandoned his attempts which permitted the unharmed driver of the truck to flee. Once again the suspect fled northbound. Area police units were advised of the incident.”

It was later reported to police the suspect approached a semi-truck at the roadside, smashed out one of the windows and tried to force the trucker to drive off.

When that was unsuccessful, police said the suspect jumped into a second semi-truck parked at the same location and allegedly threatened the driver and brandished a gun.

“The trucker proceeded southbound with police officers responding in unmarked vehicles who followed from a distance.”

While following, police communicated with the driver via telephone who feigned he was speaking to his dispatcher.

“A tactical plan was formulated to permit the driver to safely exit the truck once it stopped at the designated location. As planned, the truck pulled into the weigh scales west of Kamloops on Highway 1 and the driver was able to exit his truck and sought shelter with the positioned (Emergency Response Team) officers.”

When attempts to contact the suspect failed, gas canisters were lobbed at the vehicle to flush him out. The suspect attempted to drive away but got only a few hundred metres before the big rig slid off the road and overturned.

“At this time the suspect exited the truck, only to be met by the waiting police service dog team who effected the arrest without further incident. The man received minor dog bite injuries as result. A handgun was retrieved from the cab of the truck.”

The investigation continues.

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