News from the Oceanside RCMP’s files: Suspect flees after crash near Horne Lake exit; teens start fires in French Creek

RCMP called a Police Service Dog to locate the man in the woods near the Inland Highway

A 34-year-old Courtenay man with an outstanding warrant was arrested May 29 and faces multiple new charges after allegedly sideswiping a vehicle on Highway 19 and crossing the highway before crashing into a stand of small trees, RCMP reported.

RCMP Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services was called at 10:14 a.m. May 29 to respond to reports of a collision on northbound Hwy. 19 near the Horne Lake Exit. Officers learned that a 2005 Ford F150 truck was being driven erratically before sideswiping another truck and losing control.

The driver then crossed both lanes of northbound travel, entered the ditch, and vaulted onto the oncoming southbound lanes. The vehicle then entered the ditch and rode the berm for a distance before colliding with several small trees and coming to rest.

The driver, the lone occupant of the vehicle, suffered some facial injuries as a result of the crash. He initially tried to get a ride to hospital with other drivers who had stopped to assist. However, after learning the police had been called, he fled on foot into the woods, Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman reported via Central Island Traffic Services.

As the extent of the man’s injuries were unknown at this time, the RCMP called a Police Service Dog to help locate the man. He was located quickly by the dog in the nearby woods and arrested when it was discovered he had an outstanding warrant.

After further investigation, several offences have been recommended including: dangerous operation of a motor vehicle; taking motor vehicle without consent; driving while disqualified; prohibited driving; failure to remain at the scene of a collision; and driving without a driver’s licence. The man was held overnight in custody.

• A series of small fires apparently started by teens in a French Creek neighbourhood recently prompted Oceanside RCMP to issue a warning against the risk of brush fires.

At about 5:30 p.m. May 31, RCMP received a report from a concerned citizen of the Columbia Beach area. The man reported that he chased three teenaged boys out of a vacant lot in the subdivision as they appeared to be attempting to light fires. The young men were not located in the area, but eight small burned areas were found on the empty lot.

“With an unseasonably dry April/May, and the recent wildfires in Northern B.C and Alberta, everyone should be on alert and thinking about fire safety,” Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman said.

“A grass or brush fire can easily spread and, as we have all seen, the results can be catastrophic.”

The provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations last week announced Vancouver Island is currently experiencing Level 3 drought conditions, and issued a warning that the region will likely experience “significant water supply shortages” unless a significant amount of rain falls in the coming month.

No citations were issued in this incident, but RCMP hoped it might serve as reminder for parents to talk with their children about fire safety and the fact that playing with fire is no laughing matter, Foreman said in a written release.

— NEWS Staff/RCMP

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