A 32-year-old man has been charged with nine criminal offences in connection with a wild two-hour police pursuit that saw a stolen pickup truck driving the wrong way against rush hour traffic on Fraser Highway in Langley.
Robert Anthony Pickford appeared in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 19, the day after the driver of an red Ford F150 was dragged out of the truck by police once the chase ended on the Golden Ears Bridge Wednesday afternoon.
By then, three of the tires on the truck had been blown out by spike belts deployed by police.
The driver had to be taken to hospital by ambulance.
The charges against Pickford include multiple counts of theft, breaking and entering and possessing tools for breaking and entering.
Pickford’s next court appearance is set for early March.
Court records show Pickford has several prior convictions for vehicle theft and dangerous driving, including a 2005 case where the he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years for dangerous driving, stealing a vehicle and operating a vehicle “in order to evade a peace officer.”
At the time, Provincial Court Judge Shehni Dossa described how Pickford “went through a lot of red lights onto oncoming traffic” during an early morning police pursuit that ended when Pickford hit a light standard.
” … you are fortunate there was so little traffic on the road and that nobody was hurt,” Dossa told Pickford.
“You have a long record for someone so young,” Judge Dossa added.
At the time, Pickford was on parole from a 2003 conviction for dangerous driving, possession of a stolen auto and drug possession.
The Wednesday chase started around 2 p.m. when Ridge Meadows RCMP officers tried to stop a pickup.
The driver initially pulled over, then sped away towards Coquitlam on Lougheed Highway.
As the truck proceeded through the Lower Mainland into Surrey and Langley, the RCMP Air One helicopter was called in.
Eyewitnesses told The Times they saw the Ford speeding on the wrong side of the road along the Fraser Highway through Langley for several blocks, followed by several police vehicles.
At least one civilian vehicle had to drive up on the sidewalk to avoid a collision.
The chase ended around 4 p.m. on the Golden Ears Bridge after
Ridge Meadows RCMP closed the bridge, and police were able to box the pickup in.
The beat-up truck came to a stop facing backwards, surrounded by Emergency Response Team vehicles.
Northbound traffic across the bridge was blocked off for about an hour, causing heavy congestion and substantial delays.
– with files from Monique Tamminga