Man arrested, another in critical condition after suspected vehicle theft in Parksville

A 21-year-old man has been arrested in Parksville, B.C., after a suspected vehicle theft resulted in another man being airlifted to hospital.

Police say they were called to a report of a single-vehicle crash at the intersection of Wembley Road and Reid Road at 4:05 p.m. Tuesday and found a crashed pickup as well as an injured man.

According to Sgt. Steve Rose of Oceanside RCMP, the injured man had tried to jump onto or into the pickup at a nearby residence in order to prevent the theft from taking place. The man was an acquaintance of the vehicle’s owner.

“As the driver accelerated and transited from Reid Road onto Wembley Road, because of the speed, he went into the ditch on the opposing side which is what likely caused the injured party to be pushed against the vehicle coming to rest in the ditch," Rose said.

The 28-year-old who fell off the vehicle was airlifted to hospital and remains in critical but stable condition Thursday.

The search then began for the suspect. Police already had the man’s name and description and direction of travel. He was located quickly by highway patrol officers.

“The 21-year-old Parksville man who was the driver of the pickup truck was located a short time later down on the beachfront and he was arrested and will be facing several charges approved by the Crown," Rose said.

“That includes dangerous driving causing bodily harm, theft of motor vehicle, driving while prohibited and also failing to remain after an accident causing bodily harm."

Residents in the neighbourhood say the home where the incident began has been a frequent source of complaints to police.

Police won’t comment on the home’s past history but say the owner of the truck, the friend who tried to prevent the theft and the driver who fled in the pickup were all known to each other.

“The parties involved and the witnesses that police spoke to yesterday are known to each other and some of them do have a history with the police,” Rose said.

Police say the situation could have been dangerous..

“Definitely dangerous to both persons who live in that vicinity and the motoring public who happened to be on the roadway as this vehicle was trying to flee and certainly fleeing from that scene after being involved with the crash also suggests that the person responsible wasn’t overly concerned about what had transpired," Rose said..

The pickup was uninsured and was being worked on at the home before it was involved in the incident.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact Oceanside RCMP at 250-248-6111.