Driver of van with missing tire attempts to evade police while carrying 326 cases of beer

In a case of the odd and perplexing, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have charged the driver of a rental van who continued to drive after blowing a tire, ostensibly in an attempt to get away with an illegal – and massive – alcohol purchase.

The incident occurred just after 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1, 2023, when officers with the Lennox and Addington (L&A) Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) were dispatched to a “traffic hazard” involving a disabled rental van on the shoulder of the westbound lanes of Highway 401 near the Mitchell Road exit in Quinte West.

“Police attended the area and found rim marks driving down Hwy 401 on the WB shoulder,” the L&A OPP said in a press release the following day.

“The marks eventually became flatter indicating the rim was worn off and the vehicle was now running on the hub.”

According to police, officers located the vehicle approximately one kilometre west of Highway 37 in Belleville, still driving, with the rear left wheel beginning to smoke from heat. The OPP initiated a traffic stop without incident, the OPP said.

While speaking with the driver, officers noticed four cases of beer the the front passenger’s seat area, all of which had only French labelling on the box. Questioned about the beer, the driver became and remained evasive, even as police confronted the driver about the transportation of beer from Quebec into Ontario.

Police then carried out a search of the vehicle and found “the entire back of the van was filled with beer cases,” the OPP said. A final count of the beer found that the driver was transporting 326 cases of beer, each containing 24 cans or bottles, of various different brands, according to police.

“The driver had admitted that the liquor was not purchased at or through an authorized outlet for the sale of liquor in Ontario. He further admitted that the beer was for a wedding and not for his personal use,” the OPP said.

The 30-year-old male driver from Toronto was charged with:

  • unlawfully possessing liquor
  • unlawfully purchasing liquor
  • operation of an unsafe vehicle

In response to Kingstonist inquiries, the OPP said the driver was not arrested, but was released with a provincial court date to speak to the charges. The liquor was seized by police, and the van was towed from the highway. Alcohol purchased in another province can be brought into Ontario for personal use only, Constable David Yome of the L&A OPP clarified. The driver admitted the 326 cases of beer were not for personal consumption.

The 326 cases of beer pictured here were seized by police following the traffic stop — which police initiated because the van the beer was in was driving on Highway 401 without a left rear tire. Photo via L&A OPP.

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