RCMP are glad no one was seriously hurt after a vehicle was driven through a crowd at the Electric Love Music Festival in the early hours of Friday morning.
On July 27 at 12: 44 a.m., Agassiz and Chilliwack RCMP responded to 911 calls that a car was being driven through a crowd at the weekend festival hosting more than 3,000 patrons on the shore of the Fraser River at Cheam Fishing Village, near Agassiz.
One of those calls came from the festival’s operations director Eileen Halicki, who said she’s never seen anything like it in more than two decades of festival organizing.
According to Halicki, the driver had been in some sort of altercation and took off. He was asked to leave the festival grounds but was spotted driving his vehicle erratically into a crowd.
“We don’t know what set him off,” she said.
On-site security personnel and some festival patrons risked their own safety to try to stop the vehicle, including one festival-goer who jumped through a window, attempting to grab the keys from the ignition before falling out of the car.
RCMP said the driver eventually lost control and collided with a pole where he was detained by security before police arrived on scene.
“The initial investigation found a 31-year-old Chilliwack man and his 29-year-old female passenger had allegedly been asked to leave the festival grounds, they refused and drove toward a crowd of people,” said Sgt. Darren Rennie of the Agassiz RCMP. “The female passenger fled the scene on foot. The driver was found to be in breach of a recognizance of bail and held in custody on the breach charge.”
Agassiz RCMP are investigating the Chilliwack man for impaired driving and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. Pending evidence collection and judicial approval, criminal charges may be laid.
It remains unclear if the individuals were patrons of the festival or had gotten into the venue without passes.
Halicki said the festival is pleased with the quick action of its security team and the RCMP, who responded within minutes of the 911 calls placed.
Busiest weekend so far
The festival kept Agassiz RCMP busy over the weekend as they responded to 14 calls for service on or close to festival grounds – amounting to their busiest weekend in 2018 so far.
Other calls throughout the weekend included noise complaints, theft from a motor vehicle, ‘well-being of children’ checks, a sexual assault complaint, refusal to leave, found property and a mental health crisis believed to be related to drug impairment.
RCMP also responded to a call of a festival patron making an unwelcome visit to Suplesse Farms Friday night, releasing cattle and taking a dive in the farm’s manure pit.