Suspect in custody after wild car chase across GTA
Published Tuesday, January 12, 2010 7:38PM EST
An inmate who escaped from a minimum-security correctional facility in Gravenhurst is back in police custody after a wild car chase Tuesday that stretched across the Greater Toronto Area.
The 200-kilometre chase ended when the vehicle crashed on the Highway 401 exit ramp to Trafalgar Road in Oakville, leaving the escape vehicle with a crushed driver's side bumper and a smashed windshield.
Ontario Provincial Police say the speed of the car chase reached 170 kilometres per hour at one point.
Authorities accuse the suspect of fleeing the Beaver Creek Facility in a government-issued vehicle. His prison job had been to clean cars.
"He had access to the garage, it is controlled access, and those offenders are screened," said assistant warden David Whitton, adding the institution is currently reviewing that process.
The suspect drove out of Beaver Creek's unsupervised entrance. The stolen car was soon spotted on the highway and police gave chase until they were able to make an arrest.
One thing that made tracking the vehicle easier was the OnStar in-vehicle system.
"The OPP contacted representatives from OnStar, and we were able to locate the vehicle and relays its position to officers farther south," said Const. James Reading of the Bracebridge OPP detachment.
The OPP say they will conduct a joint investigation into the incident with the Correctional Service of Canada.
Police did not say if the suspect -- identified as 57-year-old Robert John Saunders -- is facing any charges because of the incident.
He had two years left to serve on a 15-year sentence for attempted murder, aggravated assault and arson. It isn't yet known what additional charges he might be facing.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Janice Golding