Coquihalla Highway reopens, but police investigation remains ‘active’ and ‘ongoing’ – BC News

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UPDATE 19:00

Coquihalla Highway has reopened in both directions.

“The incident that prompted police to require the highway closure has come to a conclusion and we thank all motorists for their patience,” said Sergeant Chris Manseau media officer for the BC RCMP.

He notes that there is still an active and ongoing police investigation that prompted Mounties to close the main route between the BC Interior and the Lower Mainland. The public should expect a significant increase in police vehicles in the area.

Merritt RCMP are asking any witnesses or anyone who was in the vicinity of Juliet Bridge, just south of Merritt near Coquihalla Summit between 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM on November 23, to call them at 250-378.4262. They are also looking for any dashcam footage from that time.

There will be no further updates this evening, but RCMP say they are committed to releasing a fuller update on Thursday.


UPDATE: 4:30 p.m

The police incident on Coquihalla Highway appears to involve a stolen pickup truck.

Tik Tok user Kurtis Brown posted a video Wednesday of a black pickup truck in the Coldwater River near the Juliet Bridge on the Coquihalla Highway. Brown says an “armed suspect” abandoned the stolen truck in the river and fled the area. He later removed the video.

Another Castanet reader reported that a vehicle had been stolen at gunpoint.

In an earlier press release, Sgt. Chris Manseau of the RCMP said a large number of police were en route to the Juliet Bridge area, suggesting the suspect or suspects remain at large.

RCMP officers with long guns have been stopping motorists in the area. The highway remains closed in both directions from Merritt to Hope. There is no estimated time for reopening.


UPDATE: 3:50 p.m

The Coquihalla Highway is expected to be closed for “the next few hours,” according to a brief news release issued by the RCMP on Wednesday.

Sgt. Chris Manseau of the RCMP is calling the situation “an active police incident.”

“No public or commercial vehicle is allowed passage at this time,” he said. “The public should anticipate delays and plan alternate routes for the next few hours while this incident unfolds.”

Sgt. Manseau says “a large number of police resources from surrounding areas” are being deployed to the Juliet Bridge area in Coquihalla, about 50 kilometers south of Merritt. RCMP Emergency Response Team vehicles have been seen leaving West Kelowna, presumably heading towards the incident.

“Any members of the public in the area are asked to avoid this area and refrain from publicizing police actions online,” said Sgt. Manseau said.


UPDATE: 3:30 p.m

At least nine RCMP Emergency Response Team vehicles have recently left West Kelowna, headed for the Coquihalla Highway, according to a Castanet reader.

A police incident has closed Coquihalla Highway in both directions Wednesday afternoon, between Merritt and Hope. Few details have been released, but Castanet has received an unconfirmed report of the incident involving one or more armed suspects.

According to the reader, the ERT vehicles have been leaving West Kelowna in the past hour and a half, presumably en route to the incident.

Castanet has contacted the RCMP about the incident, but no information has been released at this time.


ORIGINAL: 14:45

A “police incident” has completely closed the Coquihalla Highway Wednesday.

Few details have been released, but DriveBC reports that the closure stretches all the way from Hope to Merritt, in both directions.

While Coquihalla regularly closes during the winter months due to inclement weather and vehicle accidents, Wednesday’s closure is for a “police incident.”

Castanet has received an unconfirmed report that the incident may involve one or more armed suspects in the area, but there are no details on the case at this time. A Castanet reader reported that a TransMountain pipeline crew near Coquihalla has been evacuated, but this has also not been confirmed.

Castanet will update this story as more information becomes available.

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