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Kamloops  

Hijacked trucker tells tale

Robert Price calls it the longest drive of his life.

The 43-year-old Alberta trucker spent three-hours driving along Highway 5 Monday after an assailant came to his window on a break, waving a handgun and demanding a ride.

"He came to my window and said you don't have a choice — your only two choices are, are you driving or am I driving," Price told The Canadian Press.

"In my own mind, I had no doubt that he wouldn't have had a problem shooting me to get out of there. I've never been in the kind of situation like this."

It began late Monday afternoon when an RCMP officer found a man slumped over in his running van near Avola, north of Kamloops. As the officer was putting the suspect into a police car, the suspect overpowered him and drove off.

The van driver allegedly forced a pickup to pull over, but couldn't commandeer the vehicle and took off again when police arrived, stopping at the roadside turnout.

"He pulled a gun. It was like, 'yeah I'll drive you,'" said Price, who grew up in Tabusintac, N.B.

"Once he was in the truck, we were driving down the road and stuff. I think in my mind I was thinking as long as I was doing what he wanted and driving he was really no great threat to me, but it was a long three-hour drive to Kamloops."

Price was on the phone for most of the drive with his boss and the RCMP, but pretended it was his dispatcher. He was able to give information about where the vehicle was and police eventually told him to pull over at the weigh scales near Kamloops.

"I said 'I've got to get out. There's something screwed up back there.' I got out slowly and then the cops told me run. As I was running, I heard gunshots and it was actually them taking out the front tires," said Price.

Despite the use of tear gas, Price said the suspect still tried to drive away.

David Lee Chappell, 33, of the Lower Mainland, faces a number of charges including kidnapping and use of a firearm in the commission of an offence.



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