The red Chevy Cavalier was in a high-speed four-wheel slide when Dustin Daly caught it out of the corner of his eye.
Barreling down Peatt Road in Langford just after midnight on May 21, the Cavalier slammed into Daly’s big pickup truck as he pulled through the intersection on Goldstream Avenue. It was a rough way to start a long weekend.
Daly, an Oak Bay reserve police officer and a bylaw officer for Victoria animal control, stepped out of his truck to inspect the damage. He figures the car hit him going 60 kilometers per hour, hard enough to separate the springs on his 1992 Ford F250 “tank.” He’s thankful he didn’t take a smaller vehicle to work that day.
The Cavalier’s front end was destroyed and Daly expected the driver to be hurt or unconscious. Instead, the still-unidentified man threw the car in reverse and peeled out north on Peatt. Injured but determined, Daly pursued the man, expecting the fleeing car to collapse any moment.
“I got out to see if he was OK, but he reversed and took off,” Daly said. “I figured he would pull over. The entire front end of the car was hanging off. But he kept going.”
Daly called 9-1-1 through his Bluetooth as he followed the car up Peatt to Veterans Memorial Parkway and into residential side streets.
“If he was a drunk driver, I didn’t want to let him get away. He smashed into me and I wanted to prove who he was,” said Daly, 38, a resident of Langford. “I wanted to stop him before he hurt someone else.”
The Cavalier ended up driving either onto the Galloping Goose trail or a trail off Bette Drive, near Kelly Road and VMP. Daly had earlier lost sight of the car, but found it again when flames erupted from the bushes. He suspects the driver sheared apart his gas tank.
Fire destroyed the car and the suspect fled the area, presumably on foot. A police dog unit couldn’t find the man.
West Shore RCMP say the car wasn’t stolen and have identified the registered owner, although its not yet clear if that’s the same man who drove the car. Police are still investigating and charges haven’t been laid yet.