After being alerted to a stolen vehicle travelling on Highway 401, police engaged in a pursuit that ended with two collisions and a fleeing suspect.
The incident began early on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, when officers from the Lennox and Addington (L&A) County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) received a call regarding a vehicle that had been stolen from a residence in MIssissauga. According to police, the vehicle’s owner was tracking their vehicle through an Apple AirTag and relayed to officers that the vehicle was travelling eastbound on Highway 401 in the Napanee area.
According to the OPP, their officers located the vehicle on Highway 401 and started to follow it. Approaching Highway 38, the stolen vehicle began to exit the 401; however, the vehicle “took an abrupt turn back onto the highway” and sped away from police, the OPP said.
The OPP said that, at that time, officers had not attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but were rather simply following the stolen vehicle as the vehicle proceeded to travel “at a high rate of speed” on the eastbound lanes of Highway 401.
“Police were unable to catch the vehicle and due to public safety,… stopped following the vehicle,” the OPP said in a press release the following day.
According to police, the speeding stolen vehicle continued eastbound along Highway 401 to the exit at Division Street. The driver of the vehicle was “driving very dangerously, swerving in and out of vehicles, almost causing several collisions,” the OPP said.
As the vehicle moved to exit the highway by way of the Division Street off-ramp, it struck a white Volkswagen Jetta from behind, causing the Volkswagen to go into the ditch. The driver of the stolen vehicle continued eastbound, attempting to get back onto the highway, but the vehicle crashed into the south ditch of the Division Street on-ramp. The driver then fled on foot and “was not observed by police,” according to the OPP.
Kingstonist inquired several times about this incident with both the L&A OPP and the OPP East Region communications department. The OPP redirected Kingstonist inquiries to Kingston Police, who informed Kingstonist that their members and canine unit had only attended to assist the OPP in attempting to locate the suspect. The investigation, Kingston Police said, was solely in the hands of the OPP.
Again, the OPP indicated they had no information on this incident, despite many eyewitness accounts of the initial collision and subsequent crash, and information from Kingstonist that it was believed the main vehicle involved had been stolen. After several hours of back and forth between the OPP and Kingstonist, the L&A County OPP issued a press release on the incident shortly before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023.
According to the L&A OPP, the suspect was not located, despite the efforts of the OPP, Kingston Police, and two canine units.
“Police were then advised by Tyendinaga Police Service that the suspect had attended a shop on the [Tyendinaga Mohawk] reserve,” the OPP said in the release.
It is unclear why the employees of the shop were aware of the suspect or knew to contact police regarding the person. Regardless, police said “a photo of the suspect was obtained and video footage of the suspect entering and exiting the store.”
The OPP investigation to identify the suspect remains ongoing. Anyone able to identify the suspect pictured in the images above is asked to contact L&A County OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS).
According to the OPP, the driver of the Volkswagen suffered minor injuries and was taken to hospital by paramedics as a precaution.
Kingstonist has asked the OPP how/why the store employees in Tyendinaga knew to contact police about the suspect.
This article will be updated if/when more information becomes available.