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Fleeing suspect crashes near Shambhala

A 39-year-old man is in custody after a bizarre sequence of events Thursday afternoon on Highway 3 west of Salmo.

RCMP say at about 3:30 p.m. an officer with West Kootenay Traffic stopped a lone male for speeding.

They say the man was acting suspicious and when the  officer approached a second time, the man drove off. The officer was able to flatten a tire on the suspect vehicle with a spike strip.

A brief pursuit was called off with the suspect fleeing east toward Salmo. Several minutes later, the vehicle was located by other police officers, but the driver did not stop.

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The driver eventually crashed his vehicle between Highway 3 and the Salmo River. Police say he tried to light his vehicle on fire and then fled into the Salmo River, where officers finally caught up with him.

He refused to identify himself and was wearing a bracelet identifying him as “Shambhala Crew.”

“Due to how the bracelets were handed out, the Shambhala organization was not able to assist with identifying the man,” Sgt. Chad Badry said in a news release. “He was eventually identified through a piece of paper left in the vehicle.”

Police say the man was found to be breaching several conditions related to a probation order and undertaking. RCMP have forwarded the case to Crown counsel for charge consideration.

“The actions of this man put numerous people’s lives at risk and we are thankful no one was hurt,” Badry said.

As police continue the investigation they are seeking any witnesses to the dark red Dodge driving, the crash, or the suspect actions following the crash.

RCMP say they noted numerous people from the Shambhala Music Festival on the shore of the Salmo River right where the crash and arrest took place. In addition, an unidentified passerby pointed out the crash location to the police. Anyone with information is asked to call 250-354-5180.

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