Multiple charges laid against suspect in alleged hijacking incident

By Greg Fry
November 8, 2017 - 10:35am Updated: November 8, 2017 - 1:32pm

KAMLOOPS — A 33 year old man is facing multiple charges after a semi-truck driver was held at gunpoint Monday.

RCMP allege it all started when the man was observed slumped behind the wheel of a running vehicle at the Wire Cache rest area on Highway 5, south of Avola, just after 4 p.m.

"The officer suspected that the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was placed in the rear of the police vehicle," says Cpl. Dan Moskaluk. "When being advised of being placed under arrest, the 33 year old suspect managed to get out of the police vehicle, overpowered the officer and fled in the minivan northbound on Highway 5 with the officer following,"

He says about three kilometres south of Blue River the suspect allegedly pulled in front of a pickup truck forcing the pickup truck to stop. Moskaluk says the officer pulled up to see that the suspect was armed with what looked to be a handgun as the suspect approached the pickup truck. However, once the officer arrived the suspect abandoned his attempts which allowed the driver of the truck to flee.

Moskaluk says the suspect then approached a semi truck at roadside, smashing out one of the windows and unsuccessfully attempted to convince the truck driver to drive him away. It was at this time the suspect allegedly approached a second semi truck, threatened the driver and brandished a gun.

The trucker proceeded southbound with the suspect with police officers responding in unmarked cars following from a distance, unbeknownst to the suspect.

He says police were able to communicate with the driver via telephone who "feigned" he was speaking to his dispatcher in order to not alert the suspect. In the meantime, numerous police units caught up to the soutbound semi. A tactical plan was also formulated to allow the driver to safely exit the truck once it stopped at the weigh scales west of Kamloops on Highway 1.

Once the driver exited the truck hours later near the weigh scales west of Kamloops, he sought shelter with police officers. The truck was then immediately disabled by an RCMP Emergency Response Team.

Moskaluk says gas canisters were used in an attempt to flush the suspect out of the vehicle, however the suspect managed to drive a few hundred metres further before the truck slid off the road and turned onto its side.

Police were able to arrest the suspect a short time later with the help of an RCMP dog team.

The suspect received minor dog bites and police retrieved a handgun from the semi. The incident also temporarily closed the highway.

The suspect, David Lee Chappell, is facing three charges to date. They include kidnapping and use of a firearm in the commission of an offence.

The investigation into the incident continues.

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