The high-speed police chase that tore through Prince Albert Monday morning before ending just south of the city started with a report of shots fired near Waskesiu, according to RCMP. The three occupants of the vehicle were arrested and RCMP said the chase, although dangerous, was necessary after shots were reported.
Police said the Waskesiu detachment received a report of shots fired at the Waskesiu Lake and Highway 2 junction at 8 a.m. July 9, and officers started searching for a white Cadillac Escalade that was allegedly involved. Officers from Prince Albert drove north on Highway 2 and intercepted the Cadillac, which was headed south. Officers attempted a traffic stop, RCMP said, but the driver of the Cadillac sped away towards P.A. while swerving across both lanes of the highway.
When the Cadillac reached Prince Albert, RCMP said the pursuit was turned over to the city police, who followed the vehicle through the city and onto Highway 11. By the time the chase left the city, RCMP said their officers were receiving assistance from officers with the Prince Albert Police Service, Saskatchewan Highway Patrol, Protection and Response Team, and Saskatchewan Environment.
The driver of the suspect SUV made one last bid to get away, RCMP said, turning across the ditch and quickly reversing direction, but the Cadillac struck a spike belt that police had placed in the ditch, deflating the tires and bringing the chase to an end.
Explaining why there was a need for such a large-scale response and why police kept up with the pursuit despite the risks involved with the morning traffic, RCMP said the reported gunfire made the chase necessary.
“Any time where you have an incident where shots are being fired, there’s significant danger to the general public,” Cpl, Rob King told paNOW. "The pursuit was dangerous, but various other agencies involved in this were trying to direct traffic and access to the road.”
At one stage, the suspect vehicle was driven at speed on the wrong side of the highway towards oncoming traffic with several police cars behind, King said.
“It’s a moment-by-moment assessment of the dangers and whether or not to continue,” King said. “The pursuit continued because of the seriousness of the offense. The vehicle had to be located and had to be stopped.”
King said officers were constantly assessing the situation throughout the chase.
“Is there more of a danger of letting the vehicle go? Traffic at the time was fairly light, and access was being restricted from getting onto the highway as best we could. You could see if the person driving was using both [sides of the highway]. They’re not showing much regard for other people’s well-being and they had to be stopped.”
The alleged driver of the suspect vehicle, Anthony Junior Badger, was charged with operating a vehicle while being pursued by a peace officer, evasion of a peace officer, dangerous driving, possession of stolen property, and violation of a probation order. Dustin James Daniels, who was allegedly in the SUV with him, was charged with possession of stolen property. The pair appeared Tuesday in a P.A. courtroom and were scheduled to appear again Wednesday.
A third person, a female youth, was also in the vehicle although she cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. All three suspects are presumed innocent at this stage.
No charges were laid in relation to the reported shots, King said, though he noted the occupants of the SUV would have had ample time to dispose of any firearms in the vehicle. The case remains under police investigation.
Simon Bird shared a video of the chase to social media, which appears to show the suspect SUV driving on the wrong side of the highway at high speeds, with police in close pursuit:
Editor's Note: This story has been closed to commenting as the matter is now before the courts. This story was updated at 11:48 a.m. on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 to add comments from King.
On Twitter: @PrinceAlbertNOW
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