A closure of the Coquihalla Highway yesterday was explained by Merritt RCMP today (Nov. 24, 2022). Here’s the news release:
At approximately 12:15 RCMP officers from BC Highway Patrol, working alongside members the Uniform Gang Enforcement Team and Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC (CFSEU-BC) located a stolen black Dodge Ram pickup travelling on the Coquihalla near the Coquihalla Summit.
A traffic stop was initiated, however the vehicle fled the and proceeded down a side road. The vehicle became stuck and three occupants ran from the vehicle. Initial witnesses reported that one of the fleeing suspects was in possession of a firearm.
Over a dozen construction workers at a nearby worksite were evacuated as they were in close proximity to the last known sighting of the suspects.
Frontline members from the Merritt RCMP Detachment along with South-East District Emergency Response Team responded immediately to the area and began searching for the suspects. One woman was located and arrested shortly after, but two male suspects remained at large.
Out of an abundance of caution the highway was closed for several hours while we searched the area for these suspects, said Sergeant Josh Roda, A/Detachment Commander Merritt RCMP. Without knowing their identities or their intentions, and reports indicating they were armed, we felt it was best to keep all members of the public from the scene.
After searching for several hours, at approximately 6:00 p.m. the two men were located and arrested without incident. They have been transported to the Merritt RCMP Detachment.
Through investigation it has been confirmed that the black Dodge Ram 2500 was stolen out of Coquitlam and the licence plate attached to the vehicle was stolen out of Langley.
We are aware of the online speculation on the identities of these suspects. Although we are in the preliminary stages of this investigation, there is no indication that these suspects are related to any recent high-profile events in the lower mainland, or Merritt, Roda added.
The BC Highway Patrol along with the Merritt RCMP want to thank the following partners who were instrumental in this investigation;
The commercial truck drivers who located the stolen vehicle and relayed this information to the RCMP immediately.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure who quickly assisted in shutting down the Coquihalla highway recognizing the threat being faced by those travelling on it.
The Trans Mountain Expansion employees and staff who quickly followed directions in order to remain safe.
The public who were inconvenienced by the highway shut down.
The Merritt RCMP is asking any witnesses with dash-camera video or were near the area of Juliet Bridge, just south of Merritt near the Coquihalla summit between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on November 23 to please call the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.