A naked 49-year-old man stole a transport truck from a Maple Ridge farm yesterday and led police on a perilous chase past startled commuters during the morning rush hour.
“The danger was there,” said RCMP Const. Dave Babineau. “Someone could have very easily died this morning and we’re just happy that no one was seriously injured.”
The incident began at 6:30 a.m. when the man, who is originally from New Westminster, arrived at the farm, naked, stealing the truck and a pair of overalls.
The theft was reported and police pulled over the vehicle.
The driver, Babineau said, was acting irrationally.
“The man told our officers that he was going to take the truck and go blow up a Lower Mainland bridge and that we’d never catch him.”
Babineau said officers didn’t know if the man was crazy or armed and they backed away as the man drove off in the stolen truck.
The vehicle, which Babineau said was not going very fast, led police on a 25-minute chase along Lougheed Highway. It pulled several U-turns and at times veered dangerously close to oncoming cars.
A pair of police cruisers tailed the truck while other officers barred intersections to block other cars from getting onto the highway.
At one point the truck, now westbound on Lougheed Highway near 240th Street, swerved and crashed into a parked police cruiser.
The police vehicle was destroyed, Babineau said, but its driver was uninjured. The officer had placed a spike belt and was hiding when the truck crashed into his vehicle.
The truck, now with its front tires destroyed, ground to a halt on a hill. The driver pulled onto the side of the road and tried to run off.
He was struck by a police SUV and was arrested with minor bumps and bruises. An officer also twisted his knee during the arrest.