Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Saanich man held in series of collisions, run-ins with police

A 29-year-old Saanich man is being held for psychiatric evaluation after a series of run-ins with police and accidents Sunday, including a head-on crash that seriously injured two people on the Patricia Bay Highway.
IMG_20140119_112105.jpg
1968 MG convertible was destroyed in crash.

A 29-year-old Saanich man is being held for psychiatric evaluation after a series of run-ins with police and accidents Sunday, including a head-on crash that seriously injured two people on the Patricia Bay Highway.

“We’ve been able to piece together what happened,” said Saanich Police Sgt. Steve Eassie today. “There was definitely some kind of mental break or issues.”

It started around 1 a.m. Sunday when the driver of the 1968 MG convertible was stopped by Victoria Police for a passing-lane violation.

“It was a minor stop and nothing seemed untoward,” said Eassie.

About an hour later, the same car rear-ended a taxi at Bay and Blanshard streets in Victoria. The driver of the MG got out of his vehicle but later fled. There were passengers in the cab but the accident was not reported to police until later.

“I’m not sure why it wasn’t reported right away but it was a significant enough of a hit for paint to transfer,” Eassie said.

At 3 a.m., police saw the MG being driven erratically through the Douglas and Yates street intersection. They attempted to stop it but when the driver continued to flee,police did not pursue him to avoid a dangerous chase.

It was at that time that police began to investigate the owner of the MG and traced the car to a Saanich home. Saanich police were notified the vehicle was heading their way and asked to check the address on file but the man was not at home.

Around 4:23 a.m., the driver was spotted again by the Shawnigan Lake RCMP. The vehicle was parked on the side of the Malahat highway with the driver’s door open.

“They just checked to see if he was OK. There was nothing suspicious about him,” said Eassie.

A few hours later, the same vehicle was reported to have been involved in a near collision at Chatterton Way and Quadra Street and might have run a red light.

Around 10:45 a.m., witnesses told police they saw the MG driving north in the southbound lane on the Pat Bay highway past the Royal Oak off-ramp at high speed. The car collided with a white van carrying two passengers.

A female passenger in the van suffered serious injuries to one of her hands. All three people involved in the crash were sent to hospital.

Eassie said the driver of the MG could face Motor Vehicle Act and criminal charges in Saanich and Victoria. His previous mental health issues are known to police.

Sooke resident Allegra May said she warned police about a disturbed man matching the MG driver’s description early Sunday morning.

“Hearing about this accident is so tragic. And could have been totally avoided if people took my call more seriously,” she said.

May and her boyfriend were taking pictures of the sunrise at the Malahat summit around 7 a.m. when they saw an empty red convertible left running with the lights on and the door open. A few minutes later they noticed a man sobbing and hugging a nearby totem pole.

“We thought he might have just lost someone or it was a difficult anniversary,” May said. She described the man as more than six feet tall and about 200 pounds, with medium brown hair. He was barefoot, wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants.

The man climbed down from the totem pole, started toward his car then turned to come over to the couple’s car. May’s boyfriend asked if he could help him.

“And this man just starts hysterically laughing. It seemed a bit psychotic and scared us so badly we drove a couple hundred feet away quickly,” May said, adding the man approached another vehicle as well.

She decided to call 911. A few minutes later they were driving back to Langford when they spotted the man hanging off the Malahat Summit sign.

“He was crying and laughing, pointing at cars. It seemed like he was taunting them to hit him,” said May. She called police again, 20 minutes after her first call, but said the man fled before they arrived.

May said she was upset to see the same car in a crash on the news that night.

“This didn’t have to happen,” she said.

spetrescu@timescolonist.com


View Path of 1968 MG convertible in a larger map