Three arrested during dangerous-driving incident
Two men and a woman were arrested yesterday following a dangerous-driving incident that stretched throughout east Calgary and into Chestermere for several hours, culminating in police utilizing vehicle-based tactics to stop the truck on 16 Avenue N.E.
At approximately 3:40 p.m., on Monday, July 24, 2023, officers in the 900 block of 43 Street S.E., observed a white, 2006 GMC Sierra truck with a mis-matched licence plate. Officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the truck, which subsequently fled through a four-way stop sign eastbound on 16 Avenue and 44 Street S.E., at a high rate of speed. Officers did not pursue the vehicle at that time and requested assistance from the Calgary Police Service Helicopter Air Watch for Community Safety (HAWCS).
Just before 4 p.m., police attempted another traffic stop on the vehicle as it was travelling southbound on Stoney Trail, approaching 61 Avenue S.E. Again, the truck fled at speeds estimated around 150 km/h. Patrol officers disengaged while HAWCS continued to follow the vehicle from the air.
Around 6:45 p.m., the vehicle travelled into Chestermere and we worked with our partners in the RCMP who attempted to stop the vehicle using a tire-deflation device. The vehicle fled with damage to one tire, heading back to Calgary. While in motion, a male passenger made his way into the bed of the truck and used a jerry can to refuel the truck. He re-entered the cab of the truck as it continued to flee with HAWCS following.
Shortly after 7 p.m., Calgary police patrol officers re-engaged the vehicle with lights and sirens on 52 Street S.E., near 17 Avenue S.E. The vehicle failed to stop, accelerated away, dangerously passing other vehicles, driving the wrong way in opposing traffic, causing other motorists to have to take evasive action, and running multiple red lights. It is estimated the truck reached speeds of 160 km/h on Stoney Trail, while missing a front tire.
Around 7:30 p.m., police used vehicle-based tactics to stop the truck on westbound 16 Avenue N.E., on the approach to 52 Street N.E. The male driver and the male and female passengers were arrested.
The truck and the licence plate were determined to be stolen.
“These individuals drove in a manner that put the public at serious risk. In my mind, this type of incident is one of the most dangerous that the public and police can face. It was imperative to stop the driver as safely as possible and I commend our officers, and those of the RCMP, who put an end to this dangerous event,” says District 4 Inspector Joel Matthews.
The driver, Sebastian Thomas TAIT, 28, of Calgary, has been charged with one count each of flight from a police officer, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession of stolen property under $5,000, driving while prohibited, and both driving an uninsured and unregistered motor vehicle on a highway, in addition to eight counts of failure to comply with a release order. At the time of the incident, TAIT was bound by conditions of house arrest and a Canada-wide driving prohibition. TAIT remains in custody and will next appear in court on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023.
The male passenger was taken to hospital with minor injuries. Joshua Robert George YARDLEY, 36, was charged with possession of stolen property over $5,000 and released from custody pending his next court appearance.
The female passenger, Melissa Lynn LEWIS, 39, was arrested on 10 outstanding warrants for possession of stolen property, uttering a forged document, possession of drugs and failing to attend court. She was released from custody and will next appear in court on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023.