Just ahead of the holidays, BC Highway Patrol in Fort Nelson recently apprehended an Alberta man who purported to be Jesus after being stopped for excessive speeding near Tetsa River.
On December 13, 2021 an officer with BC Highway Patrol Fort Nelson was conducting speed enforcement in a construction zone near Tetsa River, located on Highway 97 west of Fort Nelson, B.C., when he stopped a Dodge pickup travelling at 117 km/h in the 50 km/h speed zone.
The lone occupant, a man in his 20s from Alberta, was initially compliant and cooperative with the officer and there was no immediate indication that the man was impaired by any substance. The officer returned to his vehicle and completed a ticket for excessive speed and the vehicle impoundment form. The officer served the documents to the man and explained that the truck would be impounded for seven days at which point the man’s behaviour changed and he told the officer,
My Christmas is over and you have no soul. What if I told you I was Jesus?
The officer calmly explained that he was becoming concerned for the man’s mental health and may have to apprehend him under the Mental Health Act if his increasingly erratic behaviour continued. The man stopped talking and the discussion turned to making arrangements to bring the man to Fort Nelson, about two hours away. The man opted to return to Fort Nelson with the tow truck.
The officer returned to his police car, at which point the man exited the truck and began running down the middle of the highway, ill-prepared for the bitterly cold weather, claiming to be Jesus and having visions. This behaviour elevated the officer’s concerns and he, along with a second BCHP officer who arrived on scene, apprehended the man under provisions of the Mental Health Act.
The second officer began transporting the man back to Fort Nelson while the first officer waited for the tow truck. In the interim, the truck was given a cursory search and a large bag of suspected ‘magic mushrooms’ was located. The officer now suspected that the man’s erratic and irrational behaviour may have been a result of consuming this illegal substance.
Back in Fort Nelson, the man was assessed by a physician and found to be stable, but wanted the man to voluntarily spend the night in hospital to be monitored. By then, both officers were at the hospital with the man and, based on the totality of the circumstances, including the erratic behaviour and bizarre statements made by the man, entered into an impaired driving by drug investigation. The man was put through a Drug Recognition Evaluation by the officers, and exhibits will be forwarded to the RCMP Forensic Lab for analysis. The file remains under investigation.
BCHP officers encounter unusual circumstances all the time, says Cpl. Mike Halskov, Media Relations Officer for BCHP.
This incident, however, ranks among the most unusual I have reported on. The officers did an exceptional job of utilizing de-escalation techniques to bring this incident to a safe conclusion and get this person the help he needed in a timely fashion. These actions demonstrate how BCHP is keeping our highways safer together.
This is a reminder that the entire month of December is dedicated to the Winter CounterAttack campaign and police are out in force across the province looking for impaired drivers.