Eight police cruisers chase van through Nanaimo

A police chase through north Nanaimo ended when police rammed a stolen vehicle and wrestled a man from the driver’s seat.

Nanaimo RCMP got a call about a woman who appeared to be in distress yelling from a van parked on the side of Applecross Road at about 11:40 a.m. Saturday.

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As Mounties arrived, a man jumped behind the wheel “and took off like a bat out of hell,” said Nanaimo RCMP police spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien.

Police typically avoid chasing vehicles, but in this case, officers didn’t know if the woman had been kidnapped or assaulted, “so the chase was on,” O’Brien said.

The man drove dangerously and erratically through north-end Nanaimo streets with eight police cruisers in pursuit.

At the intersection of Mostar Road and Nanaimo Parkway, the man drove the van over a median to reach the southbound lanes of the parkway.

Several police vehicles rammed the van to get it off the road.

“That’s a drastic measure, but we felt that was necessary,” O’Brien said. “Our members did what they had to do. They put themselves at risk and used their vehicles to get him off the road and stop the threat to the public.”

Officers approached with guns drawn and had to forcibly remove the combative man from the van, O’Brien said.

The male driver and female passenger, both of Parksville, were arrested. The driver was treated in hospital for injuries sustained before the police chase, O’Brien said. He remains in police custody.

The man, who is wanted in connection with outstanding charges, is facing charges of possession of stolen property, flight from police and dangerous driving.

Two police cruisers were destroyed and another sustained damage. One civilian vehicle was also damaged, but no civilians were injured, police said.

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