NEWS RELEASE · 16th August 2010
Sunshine Coast RCMP members are thanking the public for their help today, after a dramatic arrest that took place Saturday night, August 14 at a Secret Cove marina, north of Sechelt.
After an aborted vehicle pursuit a suspect dove into marina waters to avoid arrest. Three Sunshine Coast police officers removed their gunbelts and uniforms, donned lifejackets, and swam after the suspect, who still continued to resist arrest.
Corporal McNeil would like to extend thanks to Mr. Jeff Keogan of Jasper Alberta, Mr. Tim Keogan of Brooks Alberta and Mr. Larry Remin of Richmond who went out of their way to assist police with the use of their motor boats in locating and transporting the arrested suspect.
“Police may not have been able to make the arrest without the assistance of these citizens and several local people who watched the area waiting for the suspect to appear,” said Cpl. McNeil.
The pursuit started earlier that evening at approximately 7 pm, when Sunshine Coast RCMP received a report of an impaired driver leaving the Ruby Lake boat launch, and causing a disturbance.
A highway patrol officer located the truck and trailer driving aggressively south on Hwy 101 near Francis Peninsula Rd. One of the officers recognized the driver as a 26-year-old Sechlet man who is well known to local police. The driver was bound by a Recognizance to not consume alcohol and he is also prohibited from operating a motor vehicle.
The officer activated his lights and sirens and attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver did not stop for police and he continued to drive through the many sharp corners and curves south of Madeira Park.
A second police vehicle joined in the pursuit of the vehicle as it continued to drive south at a high rate of speed. The pursuit continued for several kilometers before the Corporal in charge decided to terminate the pursuit due to the possible risk to the public.
The truck and boat on its trailer were located minutes later on Mercer road in the Secret Cove area. The driver had fled into the wooded area, leaving his truck and the female passenger behind.
Officers began to flood the area with all available members in an attempt to locate the driver. Witnesses reported seeing a man running through the woods towards the Buccaneer Marina and the nearby Duke Point Marina. Police began to search the Marina area and two officers were taken out in boats by citizens who were eager to assist in apprehending the suspect.
Witnesses yelled to police that they saw a man jump into the water and swim towards several large floating boathouses in the Marina. After several minutes of searching the man was located hiding under the floating docks of the boathouse.
Police attempted to negotiate with him to come out of the water and be arrested for his offences. The man refused despite being surrounded by several police officers and citizens in private boats. The man yelled that he would drown himself before he allowed police to take him to jail.
It was now 8:45 pm and the police were faced with darkness fast approaching. Three officers then decided to go into the water to get the suspect before nightfall. The officers then removed their gun belts and uniforms and dove into the water wearing only their shorts and life jackets. The pursuing officers swam after the suspect and caught him just as he reached the opposite side of the marina before he could pull himself out of the water and onto a dock.
The man resisted arrest while in the water and the three officers who had swum after the suspect, along with a fourth uniformed officers, pulled the man from the water. He was arrested and taken back to the marina with the help of two citizens who had assisted police by transporting police and the suspect in their boat to the dock.
Approximately two dozen citizens witnessed the dramatic arrest unfold and a loud cheer was heard from both the police and all the witnesses when the arrest was made.
Police may not have been able to make the arrest without the assistance of these citizens and several local people who watched the area waiting for the suspect to appear.
Cst. DeJong, a veteran of the force with 35 years of service remarked that the arrest was one of the most exciting of his career. Cst. DeJong set a fine example for the younger members of the detachment as he was the first officer to enter the water and the first swimmer to reach the fleeing suspect.
A 26-year-old Sechelt man remains in custody facing several charges which include: causing a police pursuit; breach of recognizance, resisting arrest and prohibited driving.