Sailors assist police in nabbing impaired driver

Navy News / January 29, 2018

By Peter Mallett

Two sailors from Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, B.C., have been recognized for their quick action in helping police arrest an impaired driver in downtown Victoria last year.

Master Seaman Nathan Charbonneau and Leading Seaman Stephon Mullett were among six citizens bestowed with the Civic Service Award at Victoria Police Department headquarters January 22, 2018.

“It was amazing, great work, and the officers were thankful for what they did,” said Constable Matt Rutherford, spokesperson for the Victoria Police Department.

While returning home from a concert in LS Mullett’s vehicle on November 4, 2017, the two sailors spotted a car speeding and going the wrong way down a one-way street in the downtown core.

MS Charbonneau called 9-1-1 to report a possible impaired driver, relaying vital information including vehicle description and location to the call taker. LS Mullett followed the suspect vehicle at a safe distance.

The sailors said they observed the vehicle run multiple red lights, pass other vehicles in a no-pass zone, and then nearly sideswipe a B.C. Transit bus. It was at that point they lost sight of it. Police eventually tracked it down, but the driver refused to bring his vehicle to a stop and fled.

The vehicle reappeared near MacCaulay Elementary School in Esquimalt, almost colliding with MS Charboneau and LS Mullett’s car.

“He almost hit us head on as it came around a corner,” said LS Mullett. “At that point it occurred to us they had evaded the police.”

With his car, he boxed the suspect vehicle in on the dead-end street. Three occupants exited the suspect vehicle and took off.

LS Mullett chased and apprehended one person, while MS Charbonneau continued to relay information to the police. The two other suspects were eventually caught by police and arrested.

Neither sailor describes their actions as heroic, but rather a demonstration of “the ethics instilled in us from CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) training, and making the honourable decision of what to do at that time in that situation.”

“I’m thankful that given the danger to the public, we were able to report the impaired driver, stop the vehicle as it fled from police, and detain one of its passengers all without anyone getting hurt,” said MS Charbonneau.

The two sailors were accompanied at the ceremony by family members and senior officers from their units. Commanding Officer of Naval Patrol Training, Lieutenant-Commander Erik James, was one of many on hand to applaud the recipients and stated that CAF members feel part of, and are obligated to helping other people, in the communities they reside in.

“This incident occurred when LS Mullett and MS Charbonneau were both off duty and it is great to see members of the CAF come to the assistance of the public whenever the need arises,” said LCdr James.

The Civic Service Award was established by the Victoria Police Department in 2012 and has recognized approximately 75 individuals who have helped make Victoria and Esquimalt safer places to live.

Honoree’s names are inscribed onto commemorative panels in the police department’s Hall of Honour.

Courtesy of Lookout Newspaper