Man rams police cars, tries to out-drive officers

A 31-year-old man faces nine charges, including five counts of assaulting a police officer, after what Mounties describe as an attempt to avoid arrest by ramming past three RCMP squad cars and jumping into the Nanaimo River.

The alleged incidents took place Thursday. Tyler Fong also faces previous charges from Duncan and Ladysmith, according to the police.

Police were alerted to the vehicle’s presence in the University Village Mall and closed in on the area.

As police approached to block the vehicle’s escape, the driver, said the RCMP, rammed the police cars with his own vehicle and sped off.

A police helicopter was deployed to track the vehicle as it headed south on the Nanaimo Parkway. One witness described the vehicle weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed.

Police used a spike belt to blow out the vehicle’s tires, which caused the driver to abandon the vehicle near the Duke Point overpass, RCMP said. The driver then tried to get several vehicles to stop and pick him up, but was unsuccessful.

As police approached his location, the man reportedly jumped into the Nanaimo River to avoid arrest. But the water was shallower than expected and he ended up injuring his ankle, according to police. He eventually swam to shore and was arrested without incident.

Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said the suspect is known to police.

"This individual was well known to our officers for fleeing from police while showing no regard for the safety of the general public," O’Brien said.

"For that reason, Air Services was requested which allowed the officers involved to safely monitor the suspect’s location, and throughout to minimize the risk to the general public."

Fong also faces one charge each of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and evading police.

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