Hitchhiker cuffed after escaping police and holding driver at gunpoint

Kamloops RCMP say a male hitchhiker is in custody after holding a commercial driver at gunpoint

  • Nov. 7, 2017 7:30 a.m.

UPDATE: Nov. 8, 2017

A 33-year-old man is in custody after overpowering a police officer, escaping and finally holding a truck driver at gunpoint for more than four hours.

David Lee Chappell has since been charged with kidnapping and use of a firearm in the commission of an offence.

On Nov. 6, 2017 at about 4:16 p.m., a Clearwater RCMP Traffic Services officer observed a driver slumped behind the wheel of a running vehicle at the Wire Cache rest area on Hwy 5, south of Avola, B.C.

The officer suspected that the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and he was placed in the back of the police vehicle.

“When being advised of being placed under arrest, the 33 year-old suspect managed to get out of the police vehicle, overpower the officer and flee in the minivan northbound on Highway 5 with the officer following,” explained Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.

“Approximately three-kilometres south of Blue River, it is alleged that the suspect pulled in front of a pick-up truck forcing the pick-up truck to stop.”

The officer pulled up and allegedly saw Chappell was armed with what appeared to be a handgun as he approached the pick-up truck.

Upon the officer’s arrival, Chappell ‘abandoned his attempts’ which permitted the unharmed driver of the truck to flee.

Once again Chappell fled northbound. Area police units were advised of the incident.

“It was later reported that the suspect had approached a semi-truck at roadside, smashed out one of the windows and attempted unsuccessfully to convince the trucker to drive him away,” added Moskaluk.

“It was at this time that the suspect jumped into a second semi-truck parked at the location and is alleged to have threatened the driver and brandished a gun. The trucker proceeded southbound with police officers responding in unmarked vehicles who followed from a distance.”

Chappell is alleged to have commandeered the wood-hauling semi-truck near Avola at that time.

“A Critical Incident Commander, the Southeast District Emergency Response Team and Police Service Dog unit were engaged with ERT joining the convoy unbeknownst to the suspect,” explained Moskaluk.

Police issued a notice to area motorists advising of the highway closure near the area weigh scales.

“Police were able to communicate with the truck driver via telephone who feigned he was speaking to his dispatcher in order to not alert the suspect. Numerous police units caught up to the southbound semi and confirmed the location of the truck. A tactical plan was formulated to permit the driver to safely exit the truck once it stopped at the designated location,” added Moskaluk.

“As planned, the truck pulled into the weigh scales west of Kamloops on Hwy 1 and the driver was able to exit his truck and sought shelter with the positioned ERT officers.

“The truck was immediately disabled by ERT and attempts to make contact with the suspect in the cab of the semi were unsuccessful.”

Officers threw in gas canisters in attempts to flush Chappell out of the vehicle, however he attempted to drive it further, only succeeding in moving a few hundred metres before it slid off the road and flipped.

“At this time the suspect exited the truck, only to be met by the awaiting police service dog team who arrested the man without further incident,” added Moskaluk.

“The man received minor dog bite injuries as result. A handgun was retrieved from the cab of the truck.”

The RCMP Southeast District Major Crimes Unit is continuing their investigation into the incident.


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ORIGINAL:

Kamloops This Week

A man is in custody in Kamloops after a truck driver was held at gunpoint on Monday night.

The incident prompted Kamloops RCMP to close the Coquihalla Highway at the weigh scales immediately south of Kamloops.

RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said Mounties in Kamloops and Clearwater received a report at about 6:30 p.m. on Monday that a hitchhiker was holding a commercial truck driver at gunpoint after being picked up near Avola, north of Clearwater on Highway 5 North. Clearwater is 90 minutes northeast of Kamloops.

Moskaluk said the truck continued south on Highway 5 North and was eventually found by Mounties neat the weigh scales on the Coquihalla just south of the Copperhead Road exit in Kamloops.

Related: Suspect in assault of Kamloops Mountie arrested

Police disabled the truck and the driver was able to escape his vehicle unharmed. Moskaluk said the suspect was eventually taken into custody without incident a few hours later.

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