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Hero stops fleeing driver

Last week we told you about a good Samaritan who chased after a suspected drunk driver fleeing the scene after striking a pedestrian.

The driver had hit a young woman in a crosswalk at Ethel and Harvey so hard that she was thrown 40-feet into the air.

The good Samaritan, who chased after the driver and caught him, is now telling his story.

Kelowna resident, 31-year-old Mark Robinson, tells Castanet that he's not sure what made him chase after the driver.

“I didn't even think about it, I just thought that if he got away she would be looking at a $300-$400 disability cheque a month and that if I could get the plate number I could give that to police and help her."

Robinson was at the red light heading away from the lake at Ethel and Harvey in the far left lane. To his right was a car in the centre lane with two women inside, the HOV lane to his far right was empty.

“I heard this noise that sounded like a car rear-ended another car, and I looked over to the two ladies in the vehicle beside me I heard them say 'Oh my god, oh my god' and they were covering their mouths,” explains Robinson.

“When I looked up I saw the girl cart-wheeling through the air and she landed on the sidewalk.”

At first Robinson says he thought the truck driver was going to stop at the scene, but after a few moments he took off.

“I thought he was going to stop, we all thought he was going to stop because he kept yielding and then finally he hammered the gas, he must have realized what he did because he just floored it and took off.”

That's when Robinson jumped into action, taking off in his own car to chase the guy and get a license plate for police.

Less than a block away the suspected drunk driver attempted to take a right turn on to Gagnon Place but over-steered and landed in the grass, Robinson pulled up behind him thinking he had finally stopped. But he had not, Robinson says the man looked in his mirror at him and then backed his car right into his.

“At that point I jumped out of my car and he tried to drive away. He drove over the stop sign and he made it about 200 feet down the road. I chased him down the road on foot.”

The truck's drivers side window was open and the truck had a side step so Robinson courageously jumped on to the moving vehicle and reached in to put it in park.

“I threw the truck into the park and pulled the keys out of the ignition," says Robinson.

“He was definitely incoherent, he didn't know what was going on. He didn't get angry that some guy was jumping through his window or anything, he was just spaced right out.”

Robinson was going to drag the man out of the car, but when he noticed the driver was in his late 60's he changed his mind, police arrived to make the arrest shortly after.

“He blew twice the limit. He was just laid back like he was in a lazy-boy. He didn't look angry, he didn't look like he was here, his eyes were empty, like soulless,” describes Robinson.

A 69-year-old Kelowna man faces a number of potential charges related to the crash as well as impaired driving. He has since been released.

Robinson says he is angry at the driver for risking the woman's life and putting everyone in danger, but glad he was able to stop him and hand him over to police.

Now he says he is trying to find the young woman who was struck, to check on her and make sure she is OK.

“I would like to meet her and give her some flowers. I have experienced something similar on fishing vessels, losing people, I saw her cart-wheeling through the air and I thought she had died, but she was tough man, she hit the ground and tried to pick herself up right away.”

If the woman or her friends or family are reading this article you can email us at news@castanet and we will put you in touch with Mark Robinson.  

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