TENSE TIME

North­side man fac­ing dan­ger­ous driv­ing and im­paired driv­ing charges

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE

North­side man fac­ing dan­ger­ous driv­ing and im­paired driv­ing charges.

A Bras d’Or woman not only wit­nessed the take­down of a dan­ger­ous driver on Thurs­day, she also found her­self in the mid­dle of the fran­tic ac­tion.

“It was very scary,” said Erika Gaskell, 33, a mother of three.

“I’ve been re­liv­ing this all day. I’m so thank­ful my kids still have a mom.”

The Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice say a 31-year-old North Syd­ney man is fac­ing dan­ger­ous driv­ing and im­paired driv­ing charges fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent on the North­side Thurs­day.

Staff Sgt. Bill Turner said it all be­gan with a re­port of a stolen ve­hi­cle in North Syd­ney at 7 a.m. Of­fi­cers were able to lo­cate the ve­hi­cle — a Mazda — but the driver wouldn’t stop for po­lice.

“The speeds were not ex­ces­sive at any point,” he said. “It was just that the per­son driv­ing re­fused to stop.”

At some point in lo­cat­ing the sus­pect ve­hi­cle, RCMP were also in­volved.

Po­lice say they didn’t pur­sue the sus­pect ve­hi­cle but con­tin­ued to fol­low it at a safe speed and dis­tance, even­tu­ally ar­riv­ing at the area of King and High streets.

While at­tempt­ing to elude po­lice, the sus­pect struck the rear of a po­lice ve­hi­cle as well as an­other parked ve­hi­cle. Po­lice ap­pre­hended the sus­pect on the prop­erty of The Dive Cor­ner aquatic sup­ply busi­ness on High Street at about 9:30 a.m.

Mean­while, it was about 9:15 a.m. when Gaskell was pre­par­ing to leave the Wal­mart park­ing lot on King Street to head to­ward High Street.

How­ever, when she reached a stop sign, she no­ticed a red Mazda try­ing to elude po­lice.

“There was a po­lice SUV and an­other po­lice ve­hi­cle be­hind it.”

The sus­pect ve­hi­cle was trav­el­ing up a lit­tle road be­tween Tim Hor­tons and a taxi stand and was headed to­wards her.

Gaskell said her ve­hi­cle was slightly on a di­ag­o­nal and in the path of the sus­pect ve­hi­cle., when a po­lice SUV cut in front of the Mazda in an ef­fort to stop it.

“In­stead of con­tin­u­ing on and hit­ting me, the sus­pect ve­hi­cle rammed into the back of the po­lice car,” she said.

“I would def­i­nitely say if the po­lice hadn’t of cut in front of him there’s no telling what could have hap­pened.”

The sus­pect then drove around the po­lice ve­hi­cle and pro­ceeded to the end of the Wal­mart park­ing lot clos­est to King Street and cir­cled the park­ing lot; be­fore she knew it, the red Mazda was sud­denly be­hind her.

“I would say that hap­pened in a minute or less,” she said.

“He came up be­side me again. I felt ter­ri­fied. It was very scary.”

How­ever, Gaskell then watched as the sus­pect ve­hi­cle sud­denly veered onto High Street, trav­el­ling head-on to­wards a black car.

“The po­lice SUV then came up on the sus­pect’s driver’s side and smashed into the side of the car,” she said.

“When they did that he spun into the park­ing lot of The Dive Cor­ner.”

Gaskell said first two po­lice­men were sud­denly out of the ve­hi­cle, then it was three.

“They got him out of the ve­hi­cle and down on the ground.”

Sev­eral other of­fi­cers then also ar­rived on the scene.

At that point, she briefly stopped and chat­ted with a woman with chil­dren in the play­ground in that area. Gaskell said it’s ter­ri­fy­ing to think what could have hap­pened.

“I let her know that the kids are okay, the po­lice got him,” she said.

“She said, ‘Thank God, that’s all I was wor­ried about.’”

The ter­ri­fy­ing na­ture of the whole ordeal never re­ally hit Gaskell – a Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege stu­dent tak­ing cour­ses in pur­suit of her goal of be­com­ing an LPN — un­til she got home.

“I feel very thank­ful and I’m count­ing my bless­ings.”

Gaskell praised the of­fi­cers in­volved in the ap­pre­hen­sion of the sus­pect.

“They did an in­cred­i­ble job in pur­su­ing him and mak­ing sure that there was as lit­tle col­lat­eral dam­age as pos­si­ble,” she said.

“They pursed him ef­fec­tively be­fore there was a head-on col­li­sion or be­fore the sus­pect got to an area where there were chil­dren. The po­lice did it all very re­spec­tively and I’m very hon­oured that we have a po­lice force that is so ef­fec­tive.”

Turner said there was dam­age to a few ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing mi­nor dam­age to the back end of a po­lice ve­hi­cle.

There were no in­juries. “He will most likely be re­manded tonight and ap­pear in court to­mor­row (Fri­day),” Turner added.

Mem­bers of the CBRPS Traf­fic Safety and Foren­sic Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Unit were on the scene in­ves­ti­gat­ing Thurs­day.

Brad Ra­hey, owner of The Dive Cor­ner on High Street, con­firmed there is some dam­age to a ve­hi­cle and to his build­ing as a re­sult of the in­ci­dent.

Ra­hey said when it all went down he was in­side the build­ing.

“I didn’t see it, just heard the noise.”

ERIN POTTIE/CAPE BRE­TON POST

A mem­ber of the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice Ser­vice checks a dam­aged ve­hi­cle at The Dive Cor­ner on High Street in North Syd­ney, which is al­leged to have oc­curred dur­ing the ap­pre­hen­sion of a 31-year old North­side man who was driv­ing around the area while eluding po­lice. The man is fac­ing dan­ger­ous driv­ing and im­paired driv­ing charges.

Gaskell

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