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This man illegally crossed the Canadian border and led police on a 2.5 hour 'float chase'

Photo: BC RCMP

While most summer river floats involve colourful, funky floaties and friends, BC RCMP had to follow a decidedly different drift last week. 

In a release, BC RCMP say that officers in Grand Forks arrested a Washington State man, who led police on a two and a half hour float chase, down the Kettle River Friday.

On Friday, July 24, at approximately 1 a.m., Stevens County Sherriff’s contacted Grand Forks RCMP to advise a stolen vehicle had entered Canada illegally at the closed Port Cascade border crossing after they had attempted to stop it in Kettle Falls, Washington.

U.S. officials successfully deployed a spike belt in an effort to stop the suspect. However, the suspect continued to drive and allegedly rammed through the barriers at the border before dumping the vehicle and fleeing on foot into Canada.

Grand Forks RCMP front line officers patrolled the area and eventually located the stolen vehicle abandoned in the 7200-block of Highway 3 just outside the downtown core, but the man was not found.

Later that day, the suspect was spotted back where the stolen vehicle was recovered and RCMP officers attempted to arrest him, but he resisted and ended up jumping into the waters of the Kettle River where he floated for two-and-a-half hours, attempting to evade his capture.

Assisted by Midway RCMP, Grand Forks RCMP were able to track the man by walking along both sides of the river bank. At a point where the river narrowed, an RCMP officer, along with some good Samaritans, were able to wade into the river and escort him back to shore. The man was then taken into police custody without further incident.

This was an exceptional response from many involved including the Grand Forks and Midway officers who tracked the male for 2.5 hours, the Grand Forks Fire Department, BC Emergency Health Services and local search and rescue personnel, says Sergeant Darryl Peppler. We would like to thank the good Samaritans who assisted us in helping to safely escort this male to shore where he could be taken into custody.

The man was turned over to the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) on July 25.

The Grand Forks RCMP continue to work with CBSA officials on possible charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. The RCMP will continue to work with its American law enforcement counterparts on their criminal investigation.