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Updated: Pantless driver facing multiple charges following Portugal Cove-St. Philip's crash


Stolen truck drove with blade down on dry pavement, cracked two utility poles as it left roadway

The pantless driver of a stolen private snow-clearing truck involved in a crash in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's late last night came away without serious injuries, but not without a suite of serious charges.

The accused is charged with break and entry, possession of stolen property, fleeing from police, dangerously operating a motor vehicle, and breaches of a court order. 

Police originally responded to a complaint of a suspicious vehicle on Thorburn Road in St. John's. They eventually caught up to a truck driving with its plow down on dry pavement. When the driver refused to stop, police ended the pursuit. The vehicle was located overturned in a ditch in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's a short time later.

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EARLIER STORY

A bizarre scene unfolded in Portugal Cove-St. Philips Sunday night that ended in a spectacular crash that left a pantless driver in custody, two electrical poles cracked off and a pickup upside-down in a ditch.

An official, and witnesses, on scene told the Telegram the incident started at about 10 p.m. with reports of a private snow-clearing pickup driving through the town with its blade down on the pavement, despite the lack of snow. At some point during the escapade, the truck lost an attached salting machine on Tuckers Hill Road and continued on its journey, with the blade still plowing dry pavement.

Two RNC cruisers eventually caught up with the erratic driver and were following him when the truck crashed at high speed on Beachy Cove Road, cracking off two light poles in the process. The truck landed upside-down with the male driver trapped inside.

Neighbours told the Telegram they were inside their home when they heard a loud crash and saw a flash of light before they went outside to find the overturned pickup in the ditch in front of their house. 

When town volunteer firefighters arrived on scene, there was concern about deploying extrication tools under dangling electrical wires but they were able to rescue to driver by breaking out a window of the truck, allowing the man to get out under his own power.

The male, wearing just a pair of boxers on his lower extremities, was taken into custody with no apparent serious injuries.

Beachy Cove Road was closed in the area and was expected to remain so until Monday morning so Newfoundland Power could effect repairs to the electrical poles.

Police are, understandably, investigating the circumstances around the incident.

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