A major highway between the Lower Mainland and the interior was closed Wednesday afternoon due to an “ongoing police incident.”
Merritt RCMP announced the closure in a news release, saying the Coquihala Highway between Hope and Merritt, British Columbia, is closed to public or commercial vehicles.
“We need to anticipate delays and plan alternative routes in the hours leading up to this incident,” police said in a statement.
The Mounties provided few details about the nature of the incident, but said that “a large number of police resources from the surrounding area” were being sent to the Juliet Bridge area south of Merritt near the Kokihara Summit.
“Public citizens in the area are asked to avoid the area and refrain from posting police actions online,” the RCMP said.
DriveBC said police had closed Route 5 in response to a question on Twitter about what was going on.search for armed suspects.”
An account run by the state’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure advised motorists to take highways 3 and 5A as a detour between Hope and Merritt.
A short video recorded by Kevin Cage and shared with CTV News Vancouver shows police vehicles driving south on the Kokihara Highway with their lights on. Cage told CTV News that a line of “10 he SWAT trucks” had passed and he had been waiting for over two hours to access the freeway at 4 p.m.
Then an ambulance and an ambulance supervisor arrived and started moving in the same direction, Cage said.
No information about connections to other incidents
Highway 5 is the second major BC route closed due to a police incident in the last 24 hours.
The westbound lane of Coquitlam’s Highway 1 was closed for hours on Tuesday as police attempted to arrest a suspect in an armed robbery at a Port Coquitlam car dealership.
Police said the suspect exchanged gunfire with officers while on the run.
Two of the four armed suspects were arrested, the other two are on the run As of Wednesday, according to the RCMP.
The closure of Kokihara will also come after that week of major police incidents On merit, including multiple reported shootings.
On Tuesday, November 15, more than 100 shots were fired at several locations in the city and surrounding areas. Gunshots rang out again on Friday, which authorities suspected were related to earlier shootings.
Police have since arrested three suspects in connection with a suspected kidnapping linked to Friday’s shooting.
CTV News asked RCMP spokesman Sgt. Chris Mansoor said Wednesday’s closure of the Coquihala Highway was linked to either armed robberies in the Lower Mainland or recent riots in Merritt.
Mansoor said he had no information about a possible connection to either incident.
CTV News Vancouver’s Abigail Turner File
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