Winnipeg police helicopter called to respond to pursuit where vehicle struck cruiser and building

WINNIPEG — One man is facing several charges after trying to evade Winnipeg police in a vehicle and crashing into a building, rupturing a gas line.

Winnipeg police said on Friday morning, at around 1:30 a.m., officers tried to pull over a driver in a Jeep Patriot near Portage Avenue and Memorial Boulevard after they were witnessed breaking several traffic laws.

Police said officers tried to pull the driver over, but they refused to stop and eventually drove through a red light.

The driver fled, with police saying they reached speeds of around 100 km/h.

Officers didn’t pursue the driver and instead called Air1 for assistance.

Const. Rob Carver said there was no pursuit from police on the ground due to concerns over public safety and that is why Air1 was called to follow the vehicle.

The police helicopter followed the Jeep into the Wolseley area and police once again tried to stop the driver, this time in the 600 block of Westminster Avenue.

As police tried to stop the driver, they said the Jeep collided with a police cruiser and then hit a building, which ruptured a natural gas line.

Carver said the driver of the vehicle actually went into the wrong lane before the crash.

“(It) forced the officers to pull over to the opposite side as well to avoid a head on collision,” said Carver.

He said the Jeep side-swiped the police vehicle and it was rather slippery in the area which resulted in the vehicle hitting the building.

Police arrested the driver, who did not require any medical attention and no officers were hurt during the incident either.

Carver said it is fortunate that no one was hurt.

Due to the ruptured gas line, several apartments and homes in the area were evacuated. Around 60 people were sheltered in a Winnipeg Transit bus, while Winnipeg Fire Paramedic members and Manitoba Hydro repaired the leak.

People were allowed to return to their homes at around 3:45 a.m.

Police are charging 47-year-old Robbie Kent McLean with dangerous operation of a conveyance, flight while being pursued by police, operating a conveyance while prohibited and two counts of failing to comply with probation with a warrant for arrest.

He remains in custody.

The charges against McLean have not been tested in court.

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