Winnipeg Police have released an update on a firetruck that was stolen and the ensuing chase yesterday.
While crews were attending a call at an apartment on Henderson Highway, a parked Winnipeg Fire Paramedic (WFPS) fire truck was stolen and driven southbound down Henderson, says the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS).
Police say the truck was stolen around 12:30 p.m. Friday. The suspect drove the truck with emergency lights flashing and regularly activated the air-horn.
The WFPS truck was reportedly seen by a half-ton truck driver who was driving down Henderson at Donalda Avenue. He observed the vehicle approaching from the rear and pulled over to the right of the highway to allow the fire truck to pass.
Police say no attempt was made by the suspect to avoid the stopped half-ton and collided with it from behind. The truck was propelled into a hydro pole.
The half-ton was severely damaged in the collision. The driver of the half-ton was not injured.
Power outages in the early evening resulted for residents and businesses in the area of the crash.
#mboutage We're taking an emergency outage in the next few minutes to replace a pole damaged today during the chase of the stolen fire truck. Approximately 800 customers in EK will be affected for about an hour. pic.twitter.com/pWx6jnEXoa— Manitoba Hydro (@manitobahydro) November 29, 2019
The suspect continued to drive following the accident.
An off-duty firefighter is said to have witnessed the collision between the half-ton truck and the fire truck, and noticed that the WFPS vehicle was not being operated by WFPS personnel. The firefighter called police and the firetruck was then pursued by numerous WPS units through the downtown area of Winnipeg.
The vehicle reached speeds of 70 kilometres per hour during the chase.
Police say the truck was driven by the suspect through downtown for around 15 minutes. Pedestrians were forced to flee as the firetruck was driven through Central Park. The suspect also drove the firetruck against traffic on several one-way streets and ran several red lights.
Behind Portage Place Shopping Centre, the suspect crashed into a traffic bollard and wall. WPS deployed devices to deflate the fire truck's tires and the vehicle was rendered inoperable at Assiniboine Avenue and Carlton Street.
A WPS general patrol officer tasered the suspect to bring them into custody.
An estimated $5,000 in damages resulted from the suspect's collision behind Portage Place.
36-year-old Bai Farama Koroma has been charged with seven offences including Theft of Motor Vehicle, Operation of a Conveyance While Impared by BAC or Drug, and Flight While Pursued by Peace Officer.
Koroma has been detained in custody.