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Semi-conscious at the wheel of a stolen vehicle? Don't drive

New Westminster police took a suspect safely into custody after a Wednesday night call in Sapperton.
The New Westminster Police Department are recommending multiple charges against a man who was allegedly drifting in and out of consciousness while behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle.

A driver who was allegedly drifting in and out of consciousness while behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle in New Westminster now faces charges.

The New Westminster Police Department received a 911 call on Wednesday evening (Aug. 31) from someone who reported seeing an unconscious man in the driver’s seat of an idling vehicle on Garfield Street in Sapperton, a police press release notes.

The caller reported the engine was revving and expressed concern that the driver might be impaired.

Police responded and discovered the vehicle in question had been reported stolen. While support from other units was arriving, the suspect regained consciousness and drove away — but stopped a block away and again lost consciousness, with the vehicle still in drive.

The NWPD received assistance from Burnaby RCMP, Air One and the Lower Mainland Integrated Police Dog Service and secured the car — whereupon the man regained consciousness again and fled on foot.

The suspect was arrested without incident, the release notes.

Investigators are recommending charges to Crown counsel:

  • Flight from police (Section 320.17 of the Criminal Code);
  • Possession of stolen property contrary Section 355(a) of the Criminal Code;
  • Driving while prohibited (Section 95 of the Motor Vehicle Act); and
  • Four times breach of probation order (Section 733.1(1) of the Criminal Code).

“In situations like this one, police take every precaution to reduce the risk of harm to the public. Someone driving a stolen vehicle drifting in and out of consciousness is an extremely dangerous situation,” said Sgt. Justine Thom, NWPD spokesperson, in the media release. “We extend our appreciation to our policing partners who worked with us to safely take this suspect into custody and recover this stolen vehicle.”

The New Westminster Police Department also commended the actions of the resident who first spotted the vehicle and called 911.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
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