A Courtenay man is facing charges after leading police on a chase in Port McNeill

On November 25th just before 1:00pm the Port McNeill RCMP received a call of a collision on Highway 19 near the 350km marker. The initial report was that a vehicle with two occupants had rear-ended a pickup truck.

Officers attended the scene and while conducting their investigation observed the man from the vehicle throw an item into the ditch. During the time the vehicle occupants were being transported to the Port McNeill Hospital, police say a gun was found in the area of the ditch where they believed the item had been thrown. While the man was being arrested on the firearms charge, he fled on foot into a forested area across from a local school.

Although there was no direct threat to the school or the students, it was immediately determined to have the school go into lockdown until the suspect was located and arrested said Port McNeill RCMP Corporal Nathan Lingley. Some local businesses were also made aware, and they too took some necessary precautions

The Campbell River RCMP police dog service was called in and the suspect was later arrested and identified after a struggle with police and the dog near Cardena Crescent in Port McNeill.

Justin Chester, a 31-year-old man from Courtenay, was taken to the hospital for his injuries and then to the Port McNeill RCMP detachment. The police services dog handler had to be treated for an injury received during the struggle to arrest the suspect.

The woman passenger was later released on documentation for a court date in February.

Officers later searched Chester’s vehicle and the RCMP says they found evidence consistent with drug trafficking including; several illicit drugs, cash, multiple cellular phones, and several types of ammunition.

Chester has been charged with several firearms offences and has been remanded in custody until his court appearance on December 10th. The RCMP says it expects drug charges to be laid as well.