A frightening incident on Cowichan Lake Road last Saturday afternoon has Cowichan Valley resident Susan Lowe urging everyone to buy dash cams for their vehicles.
Lowe, a care worker, was driving a client from Duncan towards Lake Cowichan on the old highway west of Sahtlam, about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2.
“I didn’t notice anybody behind me and suddenly a silver compact vehicle overtook me very quickly and then cut in front of me so close they just about hit me. Then they slammed their brakes on and then they took off,” she said.
Lowe shook her head over this and continued driving. But then the vehicle started to play what Lowe describes as a “cat-and-mouse game” where they would speed up and then slow back down to keep her vehicle near.
“It took me a while to realize that I was being targeted. I just thought this person was driving erratically. At one point they swerved and were half off the road and half on. They weren’t directly in front of me. They were a fair distance up and we just watched them. But it carried on, this slowing down and speeding up again,” she said.
Lowe grew so concerned that she told her client they were going to carry on past the client’s driveway, because Lowe didn’t want the erratic driver to know where they were going. Next, she slowed down significantly to let the silver car get far ahead. It vanished from sight, but before Lowe could turn around and head back to her client’s home, she got an unwelcome surprise.
“I went around the curve. They were waiting for me. They were pulled over and stopped. I slowed way down. I wasn’t really sure what to do at that point. You have to understand, too, I had a handicapped person with me. It’s not like I was alone.
As Lowe approached the silver car pulled back out onto the road so the vehicle faced sideways, blocking both lanes.
“There were three people in the vehicle. There were two men and there was a female in the back. When they blocked the road, I really didn’t know what my recourse was. I suddenly realized there was a driveway on my right hand side. And just as I saw the driveway and went to go into it, he made an attempt to block the driveway as well. I got through to the driveway. He came in behind me but stopped, thank God.
“It was a very long driveway. I went all the way to the end of it. There was a house and a man with his dog. I was also praying: I hope this doesn’t end in an isolated lagoon. At this point in time, I was just taking anything that looked like I could drive along it. I was terrified.
“I got out, and explained to the man what was going on, that we needed help. I was trying to get 9-1-1 but there’s no cell service. I don’t think it was a coincidence that he tried to block me where there was no cell service. I actually believe this person knew exactly what they were doing and where they were doing it. The man kind of brushed the whole thing off and said it was probably just some road rage or whatever.”
He suggested the driver had probably taken off and was long gone.
Lowe wasn’t convinced. The man agreed he would walk with his dog to the end of the driveway to make sure the silver car was gone. She followed him up, but hung back.
The silver car was waiting. But when the occupants saw the man and dog, the finally took off towards Lake Cowichan.
“I have no idea what this person wanted but it was terrifying nonetheless,” Lowe said.
Lowe reported the scary incident to the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP, but says they told her they would not be doing anything on it.
“Three witnesses? It’s beyond me that they have taken so little interest in this. If that driveway had not been there, it could have been a very different outcome. This person meant business. They waited at the top of the driveway. When we tried to keep a distance, they waited until we came around the bend,” she repeated.
Lowe posted her story on Facebook and is now planning to buy a dash cam for her own vehicle and is urging her friends to do the same.
Another idea that could still be of use, even in areas where there is no cell service, is to use the International Distress Signal: three long blasts.
Anyone hearing the horn of a car giving three long blasts and then repeating it would be likely to check out what was happening or at least contact police, Lowe said.
She also thought that their vehicle may have been targeted because it had a handicapped sign in the window and suggested that the people in the silver car might have thought these people would be more vulnerable.
“Only put your handicapped placard up when parking. I never considered this before but such placards if visible while driving, just advertise to anyone with nefarious motives, that you are vulnerable,” she warned on her Facebook page.
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP could not be reached for comment by press time.
Lowe said she has subsequently reported the incident to Lake Cowichan RCMP, who are taking the matter very seriously.