One man is in custody but North Shore traffic has been badly hampered following a police take-down on the Capilano River Bridge Wednesday afternoon.
According the Fraser Valley Traffic Services division of the RCMP, the incident began as a routine traffic stop on Highway 1 near Bradner Road in Abbotsford around 1 p.m. when officers pulled over the driver of a black Nissan with expired Ontario licence plates.
As they ran his ID through the police records system, they found he was wanted on six outstanding warrants in another province.
The situation escalated quickly when the officers attempted to place him under arrest.
“My understanding is that the suspect punched our officer and then the scuffle ensued, which resulted in the man stealing our police officer’s keys,” said Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, RCMP E Division spokeswoman.
Police agencies from across the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver tailed the small black car from a distance as the suspect driver made his way westward. There were no safe opportunities to either box the car in or lay down a spike belt.
“You have to weigh the risk of conducting a high-risk traffic stop in the middle of Highway 1,” Shoihet said. “There have to be a whole bunch of safety considerations when you're trying to conduct a traffic stop like that.”
But a typical North Shore traffic slowdown on the Capilano Bridge gave members from Vancouver Police Department, West Vancouver Police and the RCMP’s dog section the opportunity they needed to force the suspect vehicle into the median and block its escape from behind.
Several officers and a police dog then seized the suspect. He has since been taken to hospital.
The takedown resulted in Highway 1 being closed in both directions for more than an hour.
Shoihet did not provide details on the outstanding warrants, but the man is now likely to face more charges in the Fraser Valley from the incident before he can be sent to another province.
"Thankfully, our officer suffered only minor injuries,” said Insp. Todd Balaban, E Division Traffic Services spokesman. “It also goes to show there really are no routine traffic stops, or calls.”