A 36-year-old Wilmot man was scheduled to appear in court May 22 to face several charges after an incident May 19 that sent an RCMP officer to hospital, and saw damage to a police vehicle, pepper spray used, and a police dog called in to track a fleeing suspect.
Police said the Annapolis District RCMP member was conducting a routine patrol on Highway 1 in Wilmot at about 9:50 p.m. when she saw a vehicle driving suspiciously slowly. A quick check showed that the licence plate was stolen.
“The vehicle turned into a driveway and I continued on but then the plates came back stolen,” Const. Cheryl Ponee said in an interview. She said she turned the police vehicle around to find the suspicious truck. “I saw it tucking in behind a house shutting its lights off. I notified dispatch what I was doing.”
She said she approached the driver and detected a strong smell of alcohol.
She said she placed him under arrest for impaired driving and possession of stolen property and she alleges that he subsequently resisted and assaulted her.
“He jumped in his vehicle attempting to leave with a child in the front seat,” she said. “I did what I had to to prevent him from leaving and driving impaired.”
She said she was worried about harm coming to the child and others who might be on the road during a holiday long weekend.
An RCMP media release describes what they say happened as the man tried to flee with the driver's side door still open.
“The member reached through the open door and attempted to remove the man from the vehicle. The man continued to drive forward, hitting the police vehicle, then backward, hitting a tree.”
“I had my arms around his neck, and I was hanging out of the truck,” Const. Ponee alleges. “He tried to get the door closed but my body was there by then.”
“I was just worried for kid,” she said. “No way I was letting him drive so I hung on to him for dear life.”
She said she was airborne when the vehicle started moving, but she hung on.
“I was flying around all over the place hanging on to his neck because if I let go, I would be on ground and he would have drove over me,” she said.
After the impacts, she said the man’s truck died.
The media release said that in an effort to end a dangerous situation, the RCMP member administered pepper spray.
“I sprayed him and wrestled with him,” Ponee said. “He threw me on the ground and staggered into the woods. I couldn’t see anymore.”
She had also suffered the effects of the pepper spray and was on the ground when backup arrived.
She said she was cut, muddy, and her back hurt.
The RCMP Police Dog Team from Yarmouth, and Kings District RCMP combed the area but the suspect evaded the searchers.
The man was later located and arrested without incident and is facing charges of possession of stolen property, impaired driving, resisting arrest, and assault of a peace officer. He was scheduled to appear in Digby provincial court May 22. None of the charges have been proven in a court of law.
Const. Ponee was taken to hospital for minor injuries. The 10-year-old child who was in the vehicle during the incident was also taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
The incident caused minor damage to the police vehicle.
Anyone with who witnessed this incident is asked to contact Halifax District RCMP at 902 490-5020. Should you wish to remain anonymous, call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submit a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca, or use the P3 Tips App.