Nanaimo RCMP and B.C. Ambulance Service were south of Nanaimo at Beck Road and the Trans-Canada Highway, where arrests were made in connection with a stolen pickup truck. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo RCMP and B.C. Ambulance Service were south of Nanaimo at Beck Road and the Trans-Canada Highway, where arrests were made in connection with a stolen pickup truck. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Suspect and Mountie bitten by police dog during arrest near Nanaimo

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a stolen pickup truck in Cassidy on Thursday evening

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a stolen pickup truck south of Nanaimo on Thursday evening.

A suspect and a Mountie were bitten by a police dog during the arrest, which happened in Cassidy, just off the Trans-Canada Highway near Beck Road.

Const Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the stolen vehicle was initially spotted up around Parksville late Thursday afternoon, but police made the decision not to give chase due to heavy traffic and weather conditions.

Police continued actively looking for the vehicle, however, without using lights or sirens, and saw it again on rural roads east of the highway in Cassidy.

“The suspect vehicle made its way back towards the highway, at which point they tried to make an illegal left turn and went off the roadway into the ditch…” O’Brien said. “While the vehicle was trying to get out, it punched out of the ditch and hit one of our vehicles.”

The driver allegedly fled on foot, but RCMP Police Dog Services were right there.

“The police dog caught the bad guy and the individual suffered a couple bites,” said O’Brien. “One of our members was also bit by the police dog while arresting the individual.”

The man who fled was arrested, as was a male passenger who remained in the pickup and did not resist arrest. The suspect and the police officer who were bitten were taken to hospital for treatment and stitches.

O’Brien said RCMP members being bit by police dogs is infrequent, but does happen.

“The dog has a very difficult time discerning between who’s who and if parts of the police officer’s body get in a certain location, they could possibly be bit.”

The incident on the side of the highway slowed southbound traffic.

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