A 22-year-old Chatham man is facing numerous charges after a police chase ended with a stolen vehicle disabled and stopped in Maryhill last Friday.
The incident began when Wellington County OPP received a report that a pickup truck stolen in London was travelling in the county. Shortly before 11 a.m., OPP located the vehicle in Maryhill. When police tried to stop the vehicle, the suspect drove around a deflation device that had been placed across the road, striking a police cruiser. No injuries were reported.
Joseph Austin Dawe is now facing a list of charges that includes flight from police, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000. He is also facing five counts of operating a motor vehicle while prohibited, two counts of suspended driving, unlawful possession of an identity document and failing to comply with a probation order.
According to Maryhill resident Janice Drexler, Dawe drove over her lawn during his attempt to avoid police.
“I came home and my lawn was ripped up. I thought ‘what the heck are the police doing down there?’ There were about four or five different police units and I thought that’s an awful lot for speeding or, did somebody have an accident? Then I saw a truck in the ditch [at a neighbouring house.]
While Drexler did not witness the incident, neighbour Nathan Klages saw part of it.
“I was just in my house and then I heard squealing tires. This truck drove hard into Janice’s driveway, turned around and sped back east on the road. So then I went outside because I wanted to make sure that her place was OK. At that point, I witnessed the truck in the ditch…and the police were there getting the person out of the vehicle,” Klages explained.
Saying she is glad nobody got hurt, Drexler expressed frustration at being told she would have to go through her insurance for repairs to her lawn.
“I went up and asked them what I do about my lawn and they said, ‘your insurance’ and I said ‘well, with deductible I’m not going to go to insurance,’” she added.
A Wellington County OPP police spokesperson was unable to provide specifics of the case.
“Usually if there’s damage done to a property, you can go through your insurance and your insurance company can seek restitution when the core processes are happening,” the spokesperson said.
The incident was a bit scary, Drexler said.
“We don’t have crime very often; some thefts and things like that. But to come home and find that kind of thing going on, it’s alarming,” she said.
Dawe is currently being held in custody and will appear in court in Guelph at a later date.
Anyone with knowledge of this incident has been asked to contact the Wellington County OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers.