'I always wanted to do this': man charged after a high speed chase in stolen fire truck
WINNIPEG -- A Winnipeg man is facing a long list of charges – including impaired driving – after a fire truck was stolen while crews were responding to a call Friday afternoon.
Winnipeg Police Service Const. Rob Carver said after the fire truck was stolen and driven on a destructive rampage through downtown, the suspect made the comment, “I’ve always wanted to do this.”
It started shortly after noon on Friday when a man stole the fire truck as crews were dealing with a call in the 1600 block of Henderson Highway. Police said the man drove the truck south down Henderson Highway using the air-horn regularly with the emergency lights flashing.
The truck left a path of destruction behind it as it continued driving. One half-ton truck attempted to pull over to let the fire truck pass, but police said the suspect did not try to avoid the truck and rear-ended it. The force of the impact pushed the half-ton truck into a hydro pole and sheared it off.
The damaged pole caused a power outage that affected about 800 people in the East Kildonan area, according to a tweet from Manitoba Hydro.
Police said the driver of the half-ton truck was not injured, though the truck itself was severely damaged.
Police said an off-duty firefighter called police after seeing the crash and noticing the fire truck was not being driven by a Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service member.
At this point the fire truck was still driving, as a number of police chased the stolen fire truck through the downtown area, reaching up to 70 km/h.
This lasted for about 15 minutes, with the suspect driving through Central Park sending pedestrians running. Police said the suspect also drove against traffic and went through multiple red-light intersections.
Behind Portage Place, the fire truck smashed into a traffic bollard and wall. Police said it caused an estimated $5,000 in damages. But even this did not stop the truck.
It kept on driving until police were able to use several tire-deflation devices to stop the fire truck at Assiniboine Avenue and Carlton Street. Police said they had to use a Taser to take the suspect into custody.
Carver said the man has been charged with impaired driving by blood alcohol content or drugs, though he was not able to specify which.
Bai Farama Koroma, 36 is facing a number of charges.
- Theft of Motor Vehicle
- Dangerous Operation of a Conveyance
- Operation of a Conveyance While Impaired by BAC or Drug
- Possession of a Weapon
- Flight While Pursued by Peace Officer
- Fail to Stop at Scene of Accident x 2
- Drive Without Valid Licence (HTA)
Police said he has been detained in custody.