Jacob Cathro captured this photo of Highway 97 closed above Peachland in both directions. He wrote on Twitter, “Police rammed a blue sedan into mountain side, appears to be a crime scene now.”

Jacob Cathro captured this photo of Highway 97 closed above Peachland in both directions. He wrote on Twitter, “Police rammed a blue sedan into mountain side, appears to be a crime scene now.”

Car thief nabbed by Mounties on wildfire duty

RCMP working wildfires deploy spike belt to nab alleged auto thief from Oliver.

Their focus may have been on wildfires today but that didn’t stop RCMP from arresting an alleged car thief.

Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey says Mounties assigned to the local Okanagan wildfires were forced to deploy a spike belt in order to disable a stolen vehicle, which reportedly evaded their policing partners multiple times in the South Okanagan.

This afternoon, July 21 at approximately 2 p.m., RCMP officers deployed to the Mt. Eneas wildfire, spotted a stolen blue Mitsubishi Lancer travelling northbound along Highway 97 entering Peachland.

Related: Traffic incident in Peachland causing delays on Highway 97

Related: Victoria woman recounts driving past wildfire near Peachland

Related: Evacuation alerts rescinded for properties near West Kelowna wildfire

Officers in the Central Okanagan were alerted by dispatch operators that the target vehicle had been reported as stolen to RCMP in Oliver just 45 minutes prior.

“Since the auto theft, the Mitsubishi Lancer had been the subject of multiple erratic and dangerous driving complaints in the South Okanagan,” states O’Donaghey.

The suspect had actively evaded and failed to stop for RCMP in Penticton before continuing north on Highway 97 towards Kelowna.

“The stolen vehicle avoided a RCMP road block checkpoint before officers were able to successfully deploy a tire deflation device on Highway 97 near Buchanan Road in Peachland,” says O’Donaghey.

“The suspect once again failed to stop for police and continued on.”

The 29-year-old male drive from Oliver eventually rammed into both a fully marked and unmarked police vehicle, before being forced off the roadway and taken into police custody without further incident.

“Our officers were very concerned for both public and police safety, this includes the safety of their suspect,” adds O’Donaghey. “Thankfully neither our officers, any members of the general public or our suspect suffered any injuries as a result.”

The Oliver man faces numerous potential criminal charges. He remains in police custody in Kelowna awaiting his first court appearance.

If you witnessed this incident and have not yet spoken to police you are asked to contact the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880.

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@carmenweld
carmen.weld@bpdigital.ca

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