Sailors assist police nabbing drunk driver

Mark MacIntyre, Victoria Police Department Director of Public Affairs, speaks to those gathered  about the good work of two CFB Esquimalt sailors, Master Seaman Nathan Charbonneau and Leading Seaman Stephon Mullett, after they were presented with a Community Service Award by and Acting Police Chief Del Manak. Peter Mallett, Lookout Newspaper

Mark MacIntyre, Victoria Police Department Director of Public Affairs, speaks to those gathered about the good work of two CFB Esquimalt sailors, Master Seaman Nathan Charbonneau and Leading Seaman Stephon Mullett, after they were presented with a Community Service Award by and Acting Police Chief Del Manak. Peter Mallett, Lookout Newspaper

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Two sailors from CFB Esquimalt have been recognized for their quick action that helped police arrest an impaired driver in downtown Victoria last year.

Master Seaman Nathan Charbonneau and Leading Seaman Stephon Mullett were among six citizens bestowed with the Civic Service Award at Victoria Police Department headquarters Jan. 22.

“It was amazing, great work, and the officers were thankful for what they did,” said Constable Matt Rutherford, spokesperson for the Victoria Police Department.

While returning home from a concert in LS Mullett’s vehicle on Nov. 4, 2017, the two sailors spotted a car speeding and going the wrong way down a one-way street in the downtown core.

MS Charbonneau called 9-1-1 to report a possible impaired driver, relaying vital information including vehicle description and location to the call taker. LS Mullett followed the suspect vehicle at a safe distance.

The sailors said they observed the vehicle run multiple red lights, pass other vehicles in a no-pass zone, and then nearly sideswipe a BC Transit bus. It was at that point they lost sight of it. Police eventually tracked it down, but the driver refused to bring his vehicle to a stop and fled.

The vehicle re-appeared near MacCaulay Elementary School in Esquimalt, almost colliding with MS Charboneau and LS Mullett’s car.

“He almost hit us head on as it came around a corner,” said LS Mullett. “At that point it occurred to us they had evaded the police,” said LS Mullett.
With his car, he boxed the suspect vehicle in on the dead-end street.

Three occupants exited the vehicle and took off.

LS Mullett chased and apprehended one person, while MS Charbonneau continued to relay information to the police. The two other suspects were eventually caught by police and arrested.

Neither sailor describes their actions as heroic, but rather a demonstration of “the ethics instilled in us from CAF [Canadian Armed Forces] training, and making the honourable decision of what to do at that time in that situation.”

“I’m thankful that given the danger to the public, we were able to report the impaired driver, stop the vehicle as it fled from police, and detain one of its passengers all without anyone getting hurt,” said MS Charbonneau.

The two sailors were accompanied at the ceremony by family members and senior officers from their units. Lieutenant Commander Erik James, Commanding Officer of Naval Patrol Training (Pacific), was one of many on hand to applaud the recipients, and stated that CAF members feel part of, and are obligated to help other people in the communities they reside in.

“This incident occurred when LS Mullett and MS Charbonneau were both off duty and it is great to see members of the CAF come to the assistance of the public whenever the need arises,” said LCdr James.

The Civic Service Award was established by the Victoria Police Department in 2012 and has recognized approximately 75 ­individuals who have helped make Victoria and Esquimalt a safer place to live.

Honoree’s names are inscribed onto commemorative panels in the police department’s Hall of Honour located near the front lobby of its Caledonia Avenue headquarters.

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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