Senior charged after slow police chase

Chilliwack resident Paul Murray couldn’t believe his eyes.

First, there was the sight in his rearview mirror of a car racing up behind him as he waited patiently for a train to pass at the Young Street railway crossing Thursday night.

Chilliwack resident Paul Murray couldn’t believe his eyes.

First, there was the sight in his rearview mirror of a car racing up behind him as he waited patiently for a train to pass at the Young Street railway crossing Thursday night.

Then, after he was briefly knocked unconscious by the crash when his car was rammed by a vehicle that had been waiting behind him, it was the sight of the man being arrested by police.

“The guy was wearing a red miniskirt, cowboy boots, and he had blonde wig on,” Murray said.

“I thought, ‘What’s going on here?’” Murray told The Progress Friday.

“The cops said they were chasing this guy, and they knew him very well because this kind of thing had happened before,” he said.

“I wondered, in that case, why does this guy even have a driver’s licence?”

RCMP Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth said she couldn’t confirm the 72-year-old suspect’s attire that night – it had nothing to do with the charges against him, she said – but the suspect had a driver’s licence “because the (past) offences he has committed were not driving-related.”

Police said they had tried to stop the vehicle at about 8 p.m. as they suspected the driver was impaired.

“The general duty police officer activated (his) emergency lights and sirens in an attempt to pull the vehicle over,” Hollingsworth said in a news release.

But the lone male suspect continued driving, doing the speed limit, along Fletcher Street to Nowell Street, then onto Cheam Avenue and eventually south on Young Road towards the CN railway crossing.

“The suspect vehicle collided with a stopped vehicle waiting for the train,” Hollingsworth said, which caused it to then ram into Murray’s vehicle.

She said the suspect reversed his vehicle “in an effort to leave the scene,” ramming into one of the RCMP cruisers that had pulled up to block him in.

“This was a short, low-speed pursuit that thankfully ended without any major injuries or major damage to vehicles or property,” Hollingsworth said.

But Murray said he was hit hard enough to briefly knock him unconscious and to dislocate his shoulder.

“I was in the hospital until 3 a.m.,” he said, and he was going to another doctor Friday to determine if he had suffered a concussion.

Murray also believed the suspect’s late-model Toyota Prius was totalled in the crash.

Stanley Sztuk has been charged with flight from a peace officer, impaired driving and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

He is being held in custody pending a court appearance Monday.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

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