Suspected impaired driver arrested in Saanich after hitting police vehicle

Suspected impaired driver arrested in Saanich after hitting police vehicle
Howie Allan/submitted photo
Saanich Police arrested a woman after she allegedly drove impaired and hit a police vehicle.

What started as police responding to a call for an intoxicated person in a park, ended with a driver clipping a police vehicle and subsequently being arrested blocks away.

Saanich Police were called to Mystic Vale Park around 8 p.m. on April 4 for reports of an intoxicated woman in the park. When officers arrived, the woman had left the area.

Officers stayed on scene until about 9:45 p.m. While there, police say the woman was driving away and hit one of the police cars, causing minor damage to the back bumper. She then left and was pulled over in the 2300 block of Cedar Hill Road.

Saanich Police say no officers were injured in the minor crash.

The officers suspected the woman was impaired and asked her to provide a breath sample. She refused and became hostile and police say officers were required to use pepper spray to subdue her.

The woman has been released from custody with a 90-day driving prohibition and a future court date.

Saanich Police says it is recommending charges of impaired driving and failure to comply in relation to refusing to provide a breath sample. The investigation on this file continues.

Sgt. Steve Eassie with Saanich Police says it is believed that the woman who was arrested for impaired driving is believed to be the person who was the subject of the initial call of an intoxicated person in the park.

A local community figure was on hand when the incident happened.

Howie Allan, founder of the Facebook group What the Hell Just Happened, says he heard the police vehicles driving past his house in the evening, so he went out to see what was happening.

He says he thought he was on his way to a crash and when he got there he saw seven police vehicles on scene.

“I didn’t actually know what the first scene was. There were so many police vehicles and they were looking around Caddy Bay Road,” he told CHEK News.

“Forty-five minutes later I was headed to my car and that’s when all the action started.”

Allan says a car was blocking the road and seemed to be parked in the road.

“Next thing I know, I pull up and she puts it in gear, floors it and sideswipes a police car…I followed her for a bit and saw the police up at the first police car and I yelled out my window, I said ‘Hey, that lady just hit your police car,’ and then chaos. The chase was on.”

Rise in impaired driving

Eassie says it is disappointing how prevalent impaired driving still is.

“It’s quite disappointing that in this day and age with all the education and stuff that we’ve done up to date that people still choose to drive,” Eassie said.

“Obviously, if you are choosing to have liquor, or drugs for that matter, certainly take the time to plan for a ride home and don’t drive.”

This incident comes the same day that West Shore RCMP reported a rise in impaired drivers being caught by officers.

So far this year, West Shore RCMP has caught 53 impaired drivers, up from 45 the year before.

READ PREVIOUS: West Shore RCMP says impaired driving up 17% this year

Earlier in the week, a pedestrian was hit and killed while walking on the sidewalk by an impaired driver in Nanaimo.

READ PREVIOUS: Pedestrian dies after being hit by suspected impaired driver in Nanaimo: RCMP

ICBC says 21 per cent of all fatal crashes in the province involve impaired driving. This amounts to 61 people dying in impaired driving crashes each year.

Penalties for impaired driving include driving suspensions, vehicle impoundment, fines from $600 to $4,060, jail time, mandatory rehabilitation and installation of ignition interlock in your vehicle.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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