12-year-old on bike struck by SUV during civilian chase
Sometimes pursuing crooks is worse than letting them get away.
That's the message from Langley RCMP after a high-speed car chase between two suspected thieves and a witness left a 12-year-old boy fighting for his life in hospital.
The elementary school student was biking through an intersection Tuesday when the suspects' vehicle, a Mazda Tribute SUV, blew past a stop sign and hit him.
"Someone innocent has been hurt," Cpl. Holly Largy said, "And for what? For some property."
The pursuit started after some tools were stolen from a construction site on 32 Avenue near 216 Street. A worker spotted two suspects fleeing in an SUV and decided to give chase in his pickup truck.
Largy said the drivers of both vehicles ignored traffic signs.
The young victim was struck about 12 blocks from the worksite, at 204 Street and 40 Avenue, and Mounties believe it's possible the suspects would have slowed down by then if they weren't being chased.
"They may have sped off at the very beginning if someone was yelling at them, but if they look behind them and nobody's following, they probably try to blend in at that point," Largy said.
According to witnesses, the suspects were trying to unload some of the tools, including a chainsaw, onto the street before their SUV rammed into the victim.
The boy, a Grade 7 student at Belmont Elementary School, underwent surgery overnight for serious injuries. He was released into an Intensive Care Unit Wednesday morning.
His life was likely saved by the helmet he was wearing.
Mounties said the pickup driver ultimately managed to rear-end the Mazda and run it off the road. The occupants took off on foot, but one was caught by an off-duty officer who happened to be jogging in the area at the time.
Another suspect was taken into custody after a police dog tracked him into the yard of a home on 204B Street.
Largy said the men, ages 52 and 33, are known to law enforcement and the RCMP is recommending charges against both of them. It's possible the construction worker could face charges as well, she said.
Both the Mazda Tribute and the pickup were seized for the RCMP's investigation.
Given the terrible outcome of the pursuit, Mounties urged people to think twice before giving chase, particularly for property crimes.
“Everyone has a cellphone. Take a photo, record a licence plate. Do whatever you can not to give chase and basically create a panic situation,” Largy said.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Penny Daflos