South Lancaster police chase concerns resident

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SOUTH LANCASTER – Just days after an SIU report critical of police chase tactics by SD&G OPP in rural areas, comes word of another pursuit that went through a South Glengarry neighbourhood.

South Lancaster resident Ruth Woodhouse says a truck or Jeep “flew down” Cairn View Road around 8 a.m. Thursday with about a half dozen unmarked police sport utility vehicles and cruisers behind it.

Woodhouse guesses the fleeing truck was travelling about 100 kilometers an hour on their street, “which is so narrow that often one vehicle stops and pulls to the side to let another one by.”

“I was terrified a school child or someone’s pet would be mowed down by this convoy. Or someone walking their dogs would have had to jump in a ditch,” she said in an email to Cornwall Newswatch.

The two SD&G OPP media relations officers have conflicting accounts about whether a pursuit actually took place.

“(I) can confirm that (sic) their was a pursuit involving stolen motor vehicles, arrest (sic) were made and vehicles recovered,” Const. Serge Duguay said in an email to CNW.

But in a phone call, Const. John MacPherson said a pursuit didn’t happen.

“There was no pursuit this morning (Thursday) but they did apprehend someone in a stolen vehicle. They were successful at putting…a tire deflation device (out)…and then they gave the person some space for the tires to deflate and they were able to apprehend the accused driving the vehicle,” MacPherson said.

“They weren’t pursuing the vehicle but they were giving the vehicle space and then they were moving in to apprehend the suspect once the tires were deflated,” the constable said.

He says one person was arrested, but details on the case wouldn’t be released until sometime today or Monday.

As for the affected neighbourhood, Woodhouse says chasing a stolen vehicle isn’t worth it.

“I am totally against high speed chases in residential neighborhoods for car thefts. It’s not worth anyone’s life. The person whose vehicle was stolen will be reimbursed by insurance and yes, the culprit may get away, but what’s more important?” she said. “I’d say the safety and well-being of everyone who lives in my neighbourhood.”

Last week, Special Investigations Unit Director Joseph Martino was concerned about a couple of local officers chased a drunk driving suspect through rural South Stormont and failed to “completely disengage” from the chase when told to do so by a superior.

A phone call to SD&G OPP Detachment Commander Marc Hemmerick requesting comment on police pursuits was not returned.