It is welcome news that the Brandon Police Service is reviewing last week’s chase of a stolen car through the city.
After screaming into Brandon from Kemnay at speeds of up to 150 km/h, the stolen Buick slowed to what police called “more reasonable speeds” as it sped from one end of the city to the other. When the stolen car reached the end of Victoria Avenue East and turned onto Highway 110, the driver tried to pass another car before clipping it and ending up in the ditch.
Only then were police officers able to move in and arrest the two people inside.
No Bonnie and Clyde, this couple is accused of a string of vehicle thefts across at least two provinces, as they repeatedly ditched one hot car to steal another in their attempt to outwit police. It all may have been sparked by an attempted hardware store break-in, which allegedly involved using a stolen SUV as a battering ram.
By the time they got to Brandon, the fleeing pair must have known that the RCMP were behind them and city police were ahead. Although the Mounties had declined to pursue the chase due to the high speeds, Brandon police flocked from all corners of the city to try to stop the stolen car.
In the end, it was a crash with an innocent bystander that led to the arrest.
Ironically, the worst damage seems to be from a police ghost car that was trying to catch up to the chase, racing along 18th Street and over the Daly Overpass before smashing into a pole near Rosser Avenue. The officer driving that car wasn’t injured, but witnesses to the crash who posted online say it could have been a lot worse.
Our photos of the final takedown of the two suspects show at least eight Brandon Police Service vehicles lined up along Highway 110. Several more were late to the party.
While it’s no doubt exciting for police officers in this normally placid town to cowboy it up with lights flashing and sirens blazing, a little restraint would go a long way.
It’s dangerous enough to have a stolen car racing through the city. A dozen more vehicles trying to play catch-up increases the danger exponentially — lights, sirens and badges notwithstanding.
The police review of this chase should look not just at whether a chase is initiated at all, but also at limiting the number of officers who get involved.
It should also be made public as soon as it is complete.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 10, 2014