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Coquihalla closure not connected to high-profile police incidents: RCMP

The Merritt RCMP is asking any witnesses with dash-camera video or were near the area of Juliet Bridge, just south of Merritt near the Coquihalla summit between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on November 23 to please call the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262. Courtesy: RCMP

A police chase that resulted in the closure of the Coquihalla on Wednesday ended in two arrests and is not believed to be connected to other high-profile incidents in either Coquitlam or Merritt, according to authorities.

RCMP said that at approximately 6 p.m., two men were located and arrested without incident. They were transported to the Merritt RCMP Detachment.

Read more: Man, 25, killed in Coquitlam had ties to the Lower Mainland gang conflict: police

“Through investigation, it has been confirmed that the black Dodge Ram 2500 was stolen out of Coquitlam and the licence plate attached to the vehicle was stolen out of Langley,”  Sgt. Josh Roda of Merritt said in a press release.

“We are aware of the online speculation on the identities of these suspects. Although we are in the preliminary stages of this investigation, there is no indication that these suspects are related to any recent high-profile events in the Lower Mainland or Merritt.”

On Tuesday, RCMP dealt with an armed robbery at a Coquitlam car dealership that unfolded into what they described as “multiple scenes” in the Tri-City area. There have been several incidents in Merritt in the last week, including shootings and a kidnapping.

Read more: Hwy 5 reopens but RCMP mum on reason for closure, say investigation ‘active and ongoing’

This now believed to be unrelated incident got underway at around 12:15 p.m. when a stolen black Dodge Ram pickup travelling on the Coquihalla near the Coquihalla Summit was spotted.

RCMP said in a press release that a traffic stop was initiated, however, the vehicle fled and proceeded down a side road. The truck then became stuck and three occupants ran from the vehicle.

“Initial witnesses reported that one of the fleeing suspects was in possession of a firearm,” RCMP said.

“Over a dozen construction workers at a nearby worksite were evacuated as they were in close proximity to the last known sighting of the suspects.”

Click to play video: 'Major police incident closes section of Coquihalla'
Major police incident closes section of Coquihalla

Officers from the Merritt RCMP detachment along with South-East District Emergency Response Team were dispatched to the area and began searching for the suspects.

One woman was located and arrested shortly thereafter, but two men suspected to be in the vehicle remained at large at that time.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the highway was closed for several hours while we searched the area for these suspects.” Sgt. Roda said.

“Without knowing their identities or their intentions, and reports indicating they were armed, we felt it was best to keep all members of the public from the scene.”

The Merritt RCMP is asking any witnesses with dash-camera video or who were near the area of Juliet Bridge, just south of Merritt near the Coquihalla summit between 11:30 a.m. and 2  p.m. on Nov.  23 to call the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.

Click to play video: 'Coquihalla Highway closed between Hope and Merritt due to police incident'
Coquihalla Highway closed between Hope and Merritt due to police incident

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