An RCMP officer photographs some of the eight vehicles smashed by the stolen silver truck behind him that drove over a Gaetz Avenue median into the Cities Gastro Pub parking lot Wednesday.

Eight vehicles damaged in wild wreck on Gaetz Avenue

A little lunch time theatre was on the menu at Cities Gastro Pub in Red Deer on Wednesday.

A little lunch time theatre was on the menu at Cities Gastro Pub in Red Deer on Wednesday.

Jordan Bargholz and Carl Wilson had front row seats when they heard a loud crash as they were about to dig into their chicken salads.

Bargholz, from Sylvan Lake, said he looked out the window to see a slew of damaged vehicles in the nearly full parking lot on 3301 Gaetz Avenue. A silver pickup truck was in the middle of the chaos. Both Bargholz’s and Wilson’s trucks were spared.

City RCMP Const. Dave McKenzie said the silver pickup truck was believed to be travelling northbound on Gaetz Avenue when it veered off the road on 33rd Street, smacked a few cars parked on the street, and damaged several others in the pub’s parking lot before coming to a stop.

Police had received a call a few minutes earlier about a vehicle being hit on 32nd Street before the second call came in from the pub.

Eight vehicles were damaged, including several that may be writeoffs and others that received minor damage.

Along with others from the nearly packed restaurant, Bargholz and Wilson, who is from Red Deer, rushed outside to see if anyone was hurt. They watched in shock as the male driver of the pickup staggered out of the truck and begin talking on a cellphone. Within a few seconds, the man began running and five diners chased after him but lost him.

“The plate on the truck came back stolen but the truck is not stolen,” said McKenzie. “So we’re not quite sure why he was running. He wasn’t running from us. I don’t know why he was driving like he was.”

RCMP arrested the suspect near the Kinsmen shelter, where he was found hiding in the bushes.

Melissa Wright’s Grand Am car was damaged and is likely written off. She shrugged her shoulders and said there’s not much she can do about it now.

“It’s more like dinner theatre,” said Wilson. “This is the most action I’ve seen in a long time.”

“We’re going to pay a premium for the action going on outside,” said Bargholz after returning to the restaurant to eat lunch.

Nathaniel Caines, Cities general manager, was also one of the people who chased after the man. Caines said they are happy no one got hurt.

“Nothing kills a lunch time rush like this,” he said.

The man’s name has not been released and police haven’t released any information yet on any charges.

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