Northside man facing dangerous driving and impaired driving charges
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.”
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.