By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Police allege a stolen fire truck that smashed through the streets of Winnipeg on Friday also crashed into a truck that had pulled over to let the emergency vehicle pass.
Charges against a 36-year-old man were announced Saturday, including theft of a motor vehicle and dangerous operation of a conveyance, as well as driving while impaired by alcohol or a drug.
Police say the man is also charged with possession of a weapon, fleeing police, driving without a licence and two counts of failing to stop at an accident.
The truck, which had been on a medical call when it was stolen, was finally stopped with the help of spike-belts. Nobody was injured.
Bai Farama Koroma remains in custody.
Police say in a news release that at one point a driver in a half-ton truck saw the stolen emergency vehicle approaching from the rear and pulled over to let it pass, but was instead hit from behind.
“The suspect made no attempt to avoid the stopped truck and rear-ended it, propelling the half-ton into a hydro pole, shearing it off. The half-ton was severely damaged but the driver was not injured,” police said in the statement.
“The downed hydro pole caused power outages into the early evening for area residents and businesses.”
Police said that after the truck was taken from outside an apartment, the suspect drove it down Henderson Highway with the emergency lights flashing and the air horn honking.
An off-duty firefighter saw the fire truck hit the half-ton and called police. Meanwhile, police said, the fire truck roared into Winnipeg’s downtown, reaching speeds up to 70 kilometres per hour while being chased by police vehicles.
For 15 minutes, police said, the suspect ran red lights, drove against traffic on one-way streets and went through a park, sending pedestrians running for safety.
Police have alleged the suspect appeared to aim the big vehicle at pedestrians and other vehicles.
Police said officers used two spike belts and the fire truck finally stopped underneath Midtown Bridge, which brings traffic over the Assiniboine River.
A police officer zapped the suspect with a stun gun in order to arrest him.