A crew worked to remove a stolen pickup truck from blueberry bushes on an embankment off Prest Road south of Highway 1 in Chilliwack on July 17. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

UPDATE: One in custody after dramatic Abbotsford vehicle theft ends with rollover in Chilliwack

Prolific offender Michael Joseph Hasell facing numerous charges

A well-known prolific offender was in Chilliwack court Wednesday after an alleged and dramatic vehicle theft that started in Abbotsford and ended with a rollover off an embankment on Prest Road in Chilliwack.

Michael Joseph Hasell has an extensive record dating back more than a decade in B.C., mostly for property crimes in Chilliwack but also in Pentiction, in addition to more recent police interactions in Alberta.

At around 9:00 a.m. on July 17, the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) were notified of a stolen pickup truck and trailer from a work site.

Chilliwack RCMP were notified the vehicle was headed east, and after the driver failed to stop for police, things ended badly at the Prest Road exit off Highway 1.

A witness who lives in one of four houses off a lane parallel to Prest near Highway 1 said he saw the truck and trailer roll into the dense blackberry bushes on the embankment on the east side of Prest south of the highway.

Coming from Abbotsford, the driver presumably came up the Prest off-ramp and failed to negotiate a right hand turn south on Prest, flipping the trailer and going off the road.

The witness said he went to help when he saw a man emerge from the bushes, yelling “I need to get the f—- out of here.”

That’s when the witness saw a huge police presence descend on the scene, some officers with guns drawn.

It then took considerable time and effort for a team of tow truck operators to remove the truck, which look seriously damaged, and the trailer, which looked relatively unscathed.

“Fortunately no one was injured in the crash,” said Chilliwack RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Rail. “The Chilliwack RCMP work in close partnership with neighbouring police agencies to protect communities from multi-jurisdictional law breakers.”

Hasell is charged with one count each of theft of motor vehicle, possession of stolen property over $5,000, and flight from a peace officer.

He remains in custody and appeared briefly in Chilliwack court on Wednesday. He is next due in court Aug. 7 for a scheduled bail hearing.

• RELATED: Chilliwack man accused of stealing licence plates throughout the Fraser Valley

• RELATED: RCMP’s auto theft team nabs Chilliwack suspect


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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