Alberta trucker recounts being hijacked at gunpoint

‘He wouldn’t have had a problem shooting me:’ Trucker recounts being hijacked at gunpoint near Kamloops

Alberta trucker recounts being hijacked at gunpoint

Robert Price calls it the longest drive of his life.

The 43-year-old Alberta trucker spent three-hours driving along a B.C. highway Monday after an assailant came to his window, waving a handgun, demanding that Price drive him away from the turnout in the road where Price had been taking a break.

“He came to my window and said you don’t have a choice — your only two choices are, are you driving or am I driving,” Price told The Canadian Press.

“In my own mind, I had no doubt that he wouldn’t have had a problem shooting me to get out of there. I’ve never been in the kind of situation like this.”

Related: Man cuffed after escaping police and holding trucker at gunpoint

It began late Monday afternoon when a RCMP officer found a man slumped over in his running van near Avola, B.C. As the officer was putting the suspect into a police car, the suspect overpowered him and drove off in his original vehicle.

The van driver allegedly forced a pick-up truck to pull over but couldn’t commandeer the vehicle and took off again when police arrived. He ended up stopping at a roadside turnout north of Kamloops where semi-tractor trailers were parked.

He approached one of the trucks, smashed out a window and tried to get the trucker to drive him away.

“He actually left that one and came over to me and when he pulled a gun it was like, ‘yeah I’ll drive you,’” said Price, who grew up in Tabusintac, N.B.

“Once he was in the truck, we were driving down the road and stuff. I think in my mind I was thinking as long as I was doing what he wanted and driving he was really no great threat to me, but it was a long three-hour drive to Kamloops.”

Price said conversation was limited, but his passenger asked him how long he had been driving and said he had owned trucks in the past. Price was worried about what would happen when they eventually reached their final destination.

“That was running through my mind the whole time actually. How does this end?”

Price was on the phone for most of the drive with his boss and the RCMP, but pretended it was his dispatcher. He was able to give information about where the vehicle was and police eventually told him to pull over at the weigh scales near Kamloops.

“I said ‘I’ve got to get out. There’s something screwed up back there.’ I got out slowly and then the cops told me run. As I was running, I heard gunshots and it was actually them taking out the front tires,” said Price.

He said it was the gunshots that really scared him.

“I was waiting for the bullet to hit when I heard the shots. I thought he’s shot at me.”

Despite the use of tear gas, Price said the suspect still tried to drive away and rolled his truck over an embankment.

David Lee Chappell, 33, of the B.C. Lower Mainland, faces a number of charges including kidnapping and use of a firearm in the commission of an offence.

Price is philosophical about the entire experience.

“I have a firm belief that people are put in certain places at certain times for a reason. Maybe I prevented something worse from happening to other people,” he said.

“I kind of joked with my sisters and I said you know how they say at the end of your life, he who wins has the best stories. I said I think I’ve got one of the better ones.”

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Forty-seven vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to Stoney and Minnie lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read