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Suspect charged in Clearwater transport truck hijacking

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November 08, 2017 - 10:29 AM

KAMLOOPS - A man has been charged in connection to the hijacking of a transport truck on Highway 5 near Clearwater earlier this week.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says in a news release 33-year-old David Lee Chappel is facing charges of kidnapping and use of a firearm in commission of an offence.

New details are also being released about the incident itself, in which the man allegedly held the driver of a semi at gunpoint for more than four hours, Moskaluk says.

Chappel allegedly commandeered a wood hauling truck near Avola, a small community northeast of Clearwater off the Southern Yellowhead Highway. Moskaluk says this incident happened immediately after the suspect overpowered a police officer during an earlier traffic stop.

At approximately 4:15 p.m. on Nov. 6, a Clearwater RCMP officer observed a driver allegedly slumped behind the wheel of a running vehicle at the Wire Cache rest area south of Avola. The officer suspected the man was under the influence and he was placed in the back of the police cruiser.

While the officer was informing the suspect he was being placed under arrest, the man allegedly got out of the vehicle, overpowered the officer and fled in the vehicle northbound on Highway 5 while the officer followed. Just south of Blue River, police say the suspect pulled in front of a pick-up truck, which forced the driver to stop.

The officer pulled up and saw the suspect was armed with what appeared to be a handgun as he approached the pick-up. Once the officer arrived, the suspect jumped back into his vehicle fled north. Police in the area were alerted to the incident.

Moskaluk says the suspect later approached a parked transport truck, smashed out one of the windows and unsuccessfully attempting to convince the trucker to drive him away. At this time, the suspect allegedly jumped into a second semi parked in the area, threatened the driver and brandished a gun. The driver headed south while police officers in unmarked vehicles followed from a distance.

Moskaluk says a critical incident commander, a heavily armed emergency response team and a police dog team joined the convoy unbeknownst to the suspect.

Area motorists were advised of the highway closure near the area weigh scales. Moskaluk says police were able to communicate with the driver over the phone, who said he was speaking to his dispatcher in order to not alert the suspect. Several police units caught up to the semi and a tactical plan was made to allow the driver to safely exit the truck once stopped.

The truck pulled into the weigh scales west of Kamloops on Highway 1 and the driver left his truck, seeking shelter with police, Moskaluk says. The emergency response team attempted to contact the suspect but were unsuccessful.

Moskaluk says officers used gas canisters in an effort to flush the suspect out of the vehicle and he attempted to driver it away but only managed to move it a few hundred metres before it slide off the road and overturned. That's when the suspect got out of the truck and was met by the police dog team who arrested him.

The suspect received minor dog bite injuries, and a handgun was allegedly retrieved from the cab of the truck.

The RCMP Southeast District major crimes unit continues to investigate.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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