Feature Story                                                                                                     Thursday December 15, 2011

     

Wild At The Wheel

Chilliwack Tow truck driver makes a citizen's arrest

Craig Hill/Voice photos

 

Kevin Sommerville talks about what happened Thursday when his tow truck was stolen by a drunken madman.

hilliwack RCMP knew they had a menace behind the wheel somewhere in the city, but whenever he popped up, they couldn’t chase him even though he was running road blocks like the one on Lickman Rd. at Chilliwack Mountain Wednesday night. Police knew if they pursued there was no way he was going to stop and public safety would be put at risk. So all they could do was just watch and wait for their chance to apprehend him.

Enter tow truck driver Kevin Sommerville.

What began as a run-of-the-mill Thursday for the affable employee of Chilliwack Towing, ended at about 2:45 P.M. when he was forced to save his truck, himself and possibly the lives of others on Wolfe Rd in the wild wild west drama that unfolded Thursday afternoon.

The trouble started when he came across a freshly-ditched, late model silver Toyota on the curve across from the Schweyey Nation Band, and stopped to see if he could help.

The driver of the Toyota, who was standing near the car with his two pit bulls, caught Sommerville completely off-guard when all of a sudden he left the two dogs behind, jumped inside the truck and threw it in gear.

With cat-like reflexes, Sommerville lunged for his truck, throwing open the passenger door and getting inside just as it roared off.

The vehicle flew down Wolf Rd. just barely missing a pole and an elderly couple as the two desperately fought inside the cab.

The unlikely hero finally overpowered the suspect and aimed the truck off the road where it came to rest in front of the sewage plant.

The clash continued, spilling out onto the grass along with a bottle of Crown Victoria. The suspect put up a ferocious battle and more hand-to-hand combat ensued.

According to Sommerville, they rolled around scrapping like junkyard dogs until he gained the upper hand and affected a citizen’s arrest.

But it was a rowdy fight from the get-go.

“He tried to hit me, threw the bottle at me and the dogs were chasing the truck,” he said excitedly in a strong Newfie accent. “I was punching him and taking shots.”

Chilliwack Towing owner Don Linefelder, who lives nearby, was alerted by Sommerville on the cell phone.

“He called me screaming,” he said. 

Linefelder was able to arrive at the scene within a couple of minutes after getting the frantic call from his employee, but by then Sommerville was already perched on his trophy. He was cautious because the suspect threatened he had a hypodermic needle.

 “I know he said he had a needle in his pocket, and that’s why I moved up and sat on his back,” explained Sommerville excitedly. “I don’t know what that needle has in it or what he has.”

Another passing driver said that he “stopped just to help out, to see what’s going on and I just went after these people.”

The couple travelling in up Wolfe Rd. told the Voice they had the scare of their lives when the tow truck veered at them.

“It was a dangerous situation,” said the driver. “He almost took me and my wife out.”

The two men joked about not getting the call then for the tow because the silver Toyota was more than likely headed to the police impound yard. But they shrugged that off. They were happy no one was seriously injured and the truck was almost all in one piece.

According to Sommerville, even the suspect's own dogs didn't like him and he suffered bites.

The menace was taken by ambulance to Chilliwack General where he was treated for unknown injuries and then to cells at about 4:19 P.M.

For reliable towing, including heroes, call 604-792-7902 or visit: www.chilliwacktowing.com

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