Truck hijacker enters more than a dozen guilty pleas

David Chappell pleaded guilty on Tuesday to more than a dozen charges

  • Dec. 19, 2018 9:00 a.m.

––Kamloops This Week

Police had two snipers in position, ready to shoot the suspect in the armed kidnapping of a trucker during a high-risk takedown last year in Kamloops, a judge has been told.

David Chappell pleaded guilty on Tuesday to more than a dozen charges, including 10 counts stemming from an incident that began alongside the Yellowhead Highway near Clearwater, went north to Blue River and returned south, ending at the commercial weigh scales on the west end of Kamloops.

Court heard the 35-year-old became involved in a high-speed chase with a Clearwater Mountie on Nov. 6, 2017, before ditching his minivan and threatening a trucker with a revolver-style handgun — a weapon that turned out to be a BB gun.

Chappell fled from police after being awoken by a Mountie who found him passed out at the wheel of his Dodge Caravan.

He eventually stopped and pulled his imitation pistol on a trucker at a pullout near Blue River, kidnapping the driver and ordering him to pilot his super-B rig away from the area.

READ MORE: Hitchhiker cuffed after escaping police and holding driver at gunpoint

READ MORE: Alberta trucker recounts being hijacked at gunpoint

The trucker then took a call from his boss, who had police on the line. While he drove south toward Kamloops, the RCMP’s emergency response team set up at the weigh scales near Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.

“Snipers were put into position,” Crown prosecutor Bonnie MacDonald said.

“There were two snipers ready to shoot Mr. Chappell if he endangered any emergency response team member or any members of the public.”

The trucker left his rig at the scales and ran to safety, court heard, at which time police opened fire on the vehicle, shooting out six of its tires before launching tear gas into the cab.

Chappell got behind the wheel and tried to pull back onto the highway, but lost control of the truck.

It rolled down an embankment and he left the vehicle with a duffel bag before being arrested by Mounties with the help of a police dog.

A firefighter found the silver imitation revolver in the truck and turned it over to police.

The other charges to which Chappell pleaded guilty stem from a string of domestic-harassment incidents and failures to appear in court in Alberta, beginning in May 2017.

MacDonald is asking for an eight-year prison sentence. Defence lawyer Alexander Watt is expected to pitch a two-year sentence when he makes his arguments in Kamloops Law Courts on Wednesday.

Tim Petruk, Kamloops This Week

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