A Kelowna man who fled police and took officers on a chase involving cruisers, a helicopter and eventually a police dog went from Chilliwack to Hope, and ended when he abandoned the vehicle Saturday night on Laidlaw Road. He was arrested and remains in custody. (Emelie Peacock/ Hope Standard)

Police dog Griff nabs suspect who fled in SUV from Chilliwack to Hope

Donald Stoochnoff faces four criminal charges including flight from officer and resisting arrest

Mounties from multiple detachments in the eastern Fraser Valley including an RCMP helicopter were involved in tracking down a man accused of fleeing police in Chilliwack late Saturday night.

But in the end, it was police dog Griff who got his man.

Donald James Stoochnoff of Kelowna faces criminal charges of flight from police, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, driving while prohibited, and breach of a recognizance.

The charges stem from Jan. 20 when Stoochnoff allegedly did not stop for a Chilliwack RCMP officer on Yale Road near Kerr Avenue. Police began patrolling for the SUV while forwarding the description to the RCMP Fraser Valley Traffic Service (FVTS) and neighbouring Upper Fraser Valley RCMP detachments.

Within an hour, officers supported by RCMP Air Services (Air 1) located the vehicle abandoned on Laidlaw Road near Hope. RCMP officers from Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope, FVTS and the Lower Mainland District Integrated Police Dog Service (IPDS) cordoned off the site.

That’s when police service dog Griff got the scent and tracked it into the nearby woods. The alleged driver of the vehicle was quickly located by Griff and taken into custody.

“The immediate engagement of RCMP resources pursuing their investigation across jurisdictional boundaries is responsible for the apprehension of the suspect,” said Cpl. Mike Rail, spokesperson for the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment.

Stoochnoff appeared in court on Jan. 22 at which time the breach charge was dropped by Crown, according to Court Services Online. He is next due in court for a video appearance on the four substantive charges on Jan. 30.

Stoochnoff has an extensive criminal history dating back to 2006 in Grand Forks, Rossland, Castlegar, Penticton and Kelowna.

He is currently before the courts in Kelowna facing charges in relation to different incidents. While he is in custody at the Surrey Pre-trial Centre he was due in court in Kelowna on Jan. 24 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He is also due in court in Kelowna Feb. 1 facing a slew of charges, among them break and enter and escaping from lawful custody.

On top of that, he faces a trial in Kelowna Feb. 20 on one count of driving while prohibited.

• RELATED: Chilliwack man sentenced to 180 days jail for dramatic hit-and-run

• RELATED: Police deploy spike belt to stop suspect


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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