Special delivery: Winnipeg driver picks up police officer in pursuit of fleeing suspect

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Special delivery: Winnipeg driver picks up police officer in pursuit of fleeing suspect

Jason Hildebrand makes deliveries for a living, but never dreamed the one he made Wednesday would lead to Winnipeg police making an arrest — and a public shout-out from the police service.

Hildebrand had been cruising down Princess Street in Winnipeg's Exchange District, and had just turned onto Bannatyne Avenue, when he saw a uniformed man on the run.

"Lo and behold, there was a police officer running down the street by himself, chasing nobody," said the driver.

"So I pulled up beside him, and he looked like he was in a hurry so I asked him if he needed a lift. Before I knew it he was in the back of my half-ton truck."

The afternoon was a sweltering 26 C, not factoring in the humidity. Unbeknownst to Hildebrand, the foot patrol officer was pursuing a fleeing suspect, and time was of the essence when he offered the ride.

"He said 'Sure,' jumped in the back of the truck and he just yelled out, 'I gotta get to such and such address!' And the window was rolled down and he decided to bark out instructions of where to turn as I was going."

Hildebrand took direction from his passenger, who stood in the bed of his truck.

Speedy delivery

"After going through probably five or six red lights, carefully, and hitting through a bit of an off-side construction trip to get around traffic and ducking under a big tree because I was going close to the boulevard, it probably took me about five minutes to get him there, and it was probably about 14 blocks or so," he said.

"He jumped out and yelled 'Thanks!' and he sprinted off into the distance."

The officer met up with another, said Hildebrand, at the Calvary Temple on Hargrave Street, and continued the search.

They went on to arrest and charge a 23-year-old with assault of peace officer, possession of a weapon, resisting arrest and causing disturbance, Winnipeg police said.

The 20-year-old man who fled was charged with causing a disturbance.

On Wednesday afternoon, Winnipeg Police acknowledged Hildebrand's deed with a tweet.

"So good for them!" said Hildebrand.

He added he was glad to help but doesn't want anyone getting any ideas about his Fast and the Furious-style disregard for red lights — his driving record is impeccable, but duty called.

"He was in a hurry, and I sort of didn't ask, I just figured, you know what, throw my four-ways on, enter [the intersection], carefully make sure there's no traffic coming left or right, honk the horn and it was clear to go.… I went. It wasn't running red lights to be not safe."

And he wouldn't think twice about serving those who protect in the future.

"Definitely I would do it again. If it's helping the police and it's helping them do what they do best, you know, I'd have no problem in doing it again," he said.

He said his co-workers and family told him they were also proud of him for what he did.

"I'm still in shock. I just did it because it was the right thing to do. Now I'm getting phone calls from people to ask about it. It's like, 'Oh, that's sort of neat,' but I'd do it again because it's just the right thing to do."