September 05, 2014 - 4:41 PM
KELOWNA – The chase lasts close to an hour and takes police from West Kelowna to Vernon along the busy, winding Westside Road in the middle of summer 2012. During that time, police are shot at and their cars rammed by a suspect desperate to get away.
It began shortly after 1 p.m. July 31 when a van fled from a road block in West Kelowna. Two of the three occupants, alleged to be Michael Ellis, Ashley Collins and Shawn Wysynski, were recognized by police, who then began searching for the vehicle.
Soon after, the van was spotted by Constables Mike Taylor and Michael Philion near the intersection of Boucherie Road and Gellatly Road and the chase was on.
What unfolds over the next hour is a tense and dangerous situation where many lives were at risk, especially those of the police who were fired upon numerous times.
“I”ve got (the suspect) right behind me,” one officer says as he nears Casa Loma Resort. A few seconds later, what sounds like five or six shots from a gun can be heard in the background.
“”He’s shooting at me, he’s shooting at me,” says the officer, tension in his voice. “He’s shooting at me with a rifle.”
“He’s shooting at my truck. He’s got a big power rifle or something.”
During the course of the chase, police deploy several spike strips and two tires on the suspect vehicle are destroyed, but the driver does not stop. In fact the shooter, or possibly shooters, continues firing at police until they are eventually apprehended at a roadblock just north of Vernon.
Ellis, 31, is currently on trial in Kelowna Supreme Court for attempted murder and firearm offenses where the audio from the police scanner is being played and relived by the officers on the stand. Ellis has pleaded not guilty to over a dozen charges.
Collins, 21, and Wysynski, 34, pleaded guilty in June to charges of armed robbery and occupying a vehicle that contained a restricted firearm and will be sentenced later this year.
InfoNews.ca has edited the following transmission to remove static and anything unintelligible, but the dramatic chase goes a long way in helping understand what police go through in situations like this.
Audio Credit: Contributed