Port Alberni RCMP officers bear sprayed by suspect

Port Alberni RCMP officers bear sprayed by suspect

Officers bear sprayed while responding to scene of traffic accident

Two Port Alberni RCMP officers were attacked with bear spray while attempting to arrest a man who had crashed a stolen truck.

On Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 7:13 a.m., RCMP responded to a report of a truck and trailer in a ditch at Redford Street and King Street.

A black Chevrolet S10 pickup truck had been heading westbound into town when the driver lost control and drove into the ditch on the right side of the highway, causing a traffic hazard. The two occupants, a man and woman, appeared uninjured as they exited the vehicle.

RCMP members learned that the truck was stolen, and informed the man that he was under arrest for possession of stolen property. In response, the man reached into his jacket and sprayed the members in the face with what is believed to be bear spray.

One officer was able to give chase to the man northbound on King Street, but was unable to catch him due to the effects of the spray. During his flight from police, the man attempted to steal another vehicle from Steed Avenue and Parkinson Place, but was scared off by the vehicle’s alarm. The woman, meanwhile, walked away from the scene during the commotion.

The man, who is known to police, and the woman remain at large, and the investigation is ongoing. Two police dogs from the Nanaimo detachment were called in to search for the suspects, but were unsuccessful.

Both members who were bear-sprayed received decontamination treatment and were able to return to work later in the shift.