OCEANSIDE — After a “long and dangerous track” where a K9 Services dog was nearly drowned in a river, Oceanside RCMP managed to arrest a prolific offender who ran from police.
RCMP Cpl. Tammy Douglas said the chase started around 11 p.m. on Dec. 28 when police noticed a car they believed to be stolen out of the Comox Valley. After trying to stop it, they eventually found the car in a ditch on Claymore Rd. W in Qualicum Beach.
The passenger, Christopher Wade Raithby, allegedly surrendered while the driver, Justin John Chester, ran into the bush.
“Our members never really know what they’re facing or how desperate an individual is,” Douglas said of police chases into the wilderness. “We always have to be prepared for the worst.”
Complicating the situation, Douglas said weapons were found in the car, though she couldn’t say what they were.
It was a three-and-a-half hour trek through the snow and over several rivers before Chester was found. The search didn’t end there though.
“Once they found him, (Chester) again refused to comply…and attempted to run. So they deployed the police services dog, which apprehended the suspect, but (he) then pulled the dog into the river in an attempt to drown it,” Douglas said.
To free the dog from Chester’s grasp, officers used their tasers and took him into custody.
Douglas said she believed the K9 dog was unhurt.
Chester is charged with possessing property obtained by crime and break-in tools, as well as failing to stop for police and breaching his probation.
He has a lengthy criminal record, with his first criminal charge listed in July 2007 and multiple incidents every year since in courts across Vancouver Island.
His next court appearance is slated for Jan. 16.
Raithby, the passenger, was charged with possessing property obtained by crime and break-in tools.
Story written by Spencer Sterritt