A suspect is dead, while a police officer and civilian have been released from hospital after a high speed chase in north Saskatoon Monday night.
Police Chief Clive Weighill told media Tuesday, a stolen truck, which had been spotted throughout the day, was cornered by officers on Clearwater Place near Assiniboine Drive around 7:50 p.m. Monday.
Two suspects jumped in the black pickup and reversed fast into one of the police cruisers, injuring the female officer inside. They then sped away from police as another officer fired two shots from his sidearm towards the vehicle.
Weighill said the cruiser was pushed 100 feet by the truck off the cul-de-sac and onto a residential driveway.
The officer was released from hospital after being treated for head and neck injuries.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Weighill said, adding he spoke to the injured officer and she was “doing okay.”
The Saskatoon police plane kept track of the suspects after they drove away, and officers attempted a stop 10 minutes later at Circle Drive and Idylwyld Drive North.
The truck sped away before hitting a white pickup at the intersection of Airport Road and Circle Drive. Weighill said the collision happened while the stolen truck was going 150 km/h.
The suspect driver, a 22-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene. A second suspect – a 33-year-old man sitting in the passenger seat – was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
He’s in police custody and faces several theft and drug-related charges. He was also wanted on an outstanding warrant for aggravated assault and unlawful confinement.
Police are also still searching for a woman who was seen with the suspects earlier in the day.
The driver of the white pickup was taken to hospital as a precaution, but released shortly after.
EMOTIONS RUNNING HIGH
Weighill was questioned by reporters on why officers would attempt a stop on a busy road like Circle Drive in the early evening.
He said the earlier officer injury was a factor.
“When a police officer gets injured our officers are going to heighten their ability to bring that to a conclusion,” he said.
Weighill said police normally assess whether a stop is safe to conduct based on time of day, traffic conditions, weather and other factors.
While the stop was attempted on Circle Drive in prime driving hours, he expressed support for his officers’ decision to do so.
“It’s not for me to second guess what the officers did,” he said. “They did what they thought was right.”
Weighill says once officers engaged the truck on Circle Drive, it was a “matter of seconds” before the fatal collision.
The police chief noted the plane took video of the entire incident, and the family of the dead suspect are able to view it to understand what happened.
The video could also be made public in any resulting court cases.
KEYS LEFT IN VEHICLE
The police chief also expressed frustration at how the truck was stolen in the first place.
Weighill said the keys were left inside when it was stolen at 3:45 a.m. in the Caswell Hill area.
“Here we are again,” he said. “It’s an open opportunity.”
Saskatoon police said Monday’s incident marked the fourth death in two years related to stolen vehicles where the keys had been left inside.
Police data shows 60 per cent of vehicles stolen in Saskatoon have the keys inside them at the time of the theft.
Weighill said between 1,200 and 1,500 vehicles had already been stolen in 2017 so far.