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UPDATE: Saanich police subdue driver after high-speed, crash-filled trip down Cook Street

Man refused help from witness, was taken to hospital in ‘medical distress’

One man was rushed to hospital Thursday with what police called serious, life-threatening injuries after a high-speed, multi-vehicle crash in the 3300-block of Cook Street that left one previously parked vehicle on its side in a ditch and another across the roadway.

Saanich police tweeted about 3:30 p.m. that Cook Street between Maplewood Road and Salsbury Way will remain closed to traffic for several more hours as the main crash scene is analyzed.

Witness TJ Chandler was walking toward her daughter’s home off Cook Street to pick up her vehicle shortly after noon July 7 when she heard what she said sounded like someone doing a smoke show behind her. A red Audi SUV roared past her along Cook Street, striking multiple vehicles before coming to a stop across the middle of the road.

“I saw him and he was going way too fast and I thought he’s going to get into an accident,” she said, adding she started running in the vehicle’s direction of travel. “I saw him swerve, then swerve back and I heard him hit a parked car and then he stopped across the street like that.”

Chandler, who has various certifications in first aid, ran to the crash scene to give assistance. The man was clearly injured, but appeared to have been protected by the airbag, she said.

When the man refused her help and started yelling, revealing a large knife, she moved away from the vehicle.

In the meantime, police arrived to secure the scene and take the driver into custody. Chandler saw police use non-lethal means to subdue the man, and said it took a while for him to become immobilized. The man was transported to hospital via ambulance suffering what police later stated was serious, life-threatening injuries.

Noting that it appeared officers were trying to prevent the man from harming himself, Chandler characterized the driver as being “in a completely altered state.”

It was uncertain exactly how many vehicles the driver hit on his way down Cook Street. A dog that was found in the back seat of the Audi was confirmed by police to be uninjured.

Saanich police also stated civilian oversight agency the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) is also conducting an investigation into police actions during the incident.

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