'Like a bomb exploded': Witnesses describe hearing crash involving stolen police vehicle
RICHMOND - Neighbours were told to stay inside Monday as Mounties investigated a multi-car crash involving two police cars and two members of the public.
It was “like a bomb exploded,” said Annabell Rivera, who lives in the area. “I was so scared. I called up my daughter, she’s just working by the hospital.”
Mounties said that’s where it started. Police were called to Richmond General Hospital shortly after noon Monday for reports that a patient had fled the facility. The RCMP said the man was not permitted to leave the hospital, but did not explain why.
The patient is accused of stealing a police car and causing multiple collisions, first with another car and an unmarked police vehicle near the intersection of Gilbert and Donald roads. The second crash involved another car near Blundell Road, and sent a woman to hospital. The suspect was arrested at the second scene.
B.C.'s police watchdog, which probes any incidents involving law enforcement that result in death or serious injury, was called to investigate. The Independent Investigations Office described the second crash as "fairly serious."
"That collision injured a woman, fracturing her ankle and breaking some ribs," chief civilian director Ron MacDonald told CTV News.
The IIO confirmed neither the police officer nor person involved in the first crash were seriously injured.
Kenny Chan was at home at the time and told CTV News the police told them not to leave their homes. “Just keep inside is what they said.”
A large debris field was left behind and the road remained closed for hours.
Rivera said the response was big, with “a lot of police, about 20, and a lot of cars, police car, ambulance, fire trucks.”
In a statement to CTV News Vancouver, Matt Kieltyka, a spokesperson with Vancouver Coastal Health said, “Due to privacy concerns, we cannot release details related to specific patients and when police are involved, questions are best directed at law enforcement officials.”
Kieltyka said VCH is “aware of a situation involving a patient at the Richmond Emergency Department and Richmond RCMP” and that it commends "staff, security officers, and Richmond RCMP for working quickly to protect patients.”
He went on to say patient safety is the highest priority.
"We regret any anxiety this incident may have caused anyone," Kieltyka said.
The suspect remains in custody. Police have not said what charges he may face.