Charges have been laid after two robberies on Friday night led to a dangerous police chase on Highway 2, which police said culminated with a stolen semi-truck driving the wrong way on the busy Alberta highway.
RCMP said officers were initially called to the Premium Outlet Collection Edmonton International Airport, north of Leduc, around 7:40 p.m., after a woman was assaulted and had her purse stolen.
Then police were called to a robbery at a liquor store in Millet, Alta., at 8:40 p.m. after officers said two suspects entered the store with a firearm demanding money.
In both incidents, witnesses told police the suspects were described driving away in a Ford F-150. Officers were able to determine that the suspects were the same in both incidents and that the truck was a stolen vehicle.
RCMP located the suspect vehicle while en route to the Millet liquor store, and pursued it to Highway 2, south of Leduc, where police deployed a spike belt.
The truck attempted to drive with all four tires destroyed, travelling at what RCMP described as “at low speed, on only tire rims.”
The vehicle then crossed over the median into the southbound lanes and collided with a semi tractor-trailer.
After the collision, three individuals exited the vehicle and ran. Two were apprehended by police, but a third person saw that the driver of the semi involved in the collision had exited his vehicle, so the suspect got into the semi and fled the scene, according to RCMP.
Police pursued the stolen semi-truck northbound for about 25 kilometres, during which it crossed the median and drove the wrong way several times.
Witnesses tell Global News that RCMP were diverting traffic away from the area.
“We were on our way to Calgary. We had just left Edmonton around 9:30-ish,” said Dakota Harvey on Saturday. “We were just leaving Leduc when there was a cop car blocking both lanes southbound on the QEII… We pulled up there, rolled down our window.
The chase finally ended when the brakes of the truck locked, and police were able to make an arrest.
No one was injured during the chase or robbery, but the woman who was assaulted at the mall had minor injuries that didn’t require any medical treatment, said RCMP.
On Tuesday, RCMP said charges were laid against three people.
Nicholas Page Stocco, 21, Deven Alfonso Richardson, 25, and Chantal Vossler, 22, have all been charged with robbery with an imitation firearm, robbery, possession of an imitation firearm dangerous to the public, use of an imitation firearm in the commission of an offence, two counts each of fraud under $5,000 and two counts each of possession of stolen property over $5,000.
Stocco faces additional charges, which include two counts of flight from police, two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, two counts of driving while disqualified, failing to remain at the scene of an accident, wearing a disguise with the intent of committing an indictable offence and eight counts of failing to comply with conditions.
All three remained in custody Tuesday, RCMP said.
Richardson and Vossler are scheduled to appear in Wetaskiwin Provincial Court on Dec.10. Stocco is scheduled to appear on Dec. 12.