(Black Press file photo)

Driver assaulted after picking up hitchhiker: RCMP in central Alberta say

An incident that started with a central Albertan providing a courtesy ride to a hitchhiker escalated to an assault and resulted in a police dog track and an arrest, police say.

On Dec. 17 at 6:47 p.m., Ponoka RCMP responded to a report of man at a rural property requesting help. RCMP attended and determined that the man was the victim of an assault. The man alleged that he gave a ride to a male hitchhiker who produced a knife and bear spray.

The driver purposefully drove his truck into a ditch and while trying to flee, was again assaulted with a knife. The victim managed to get away and sought help at a rural residence.

Ponoka RCMP and Integrated Traffic Unit members set up containment in the area. Police Dog Services was engaged to search for the suspect. With tips from home owners and following a successful track by the police dog, the suspect was located and taken into custody. He suffered a minor injury during his interaction with the police dog.

The male victim of this offence was transported to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

Dennis Tyler Rattlesnake (35) is facing charges of unlawful confinement, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. At the time of his arrest, he was wanted on a previous arrest warrant out of Maskwacis for aggravated assault.

Following his judicial interim release hearing, Rattlesnake was remanded in custody. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2021.

“This is the second violent incident in the same number of days, where public assistance has been instrumental in our capture of the suspect” says Sgt. Erin St-Cyr of the Ponoka RCMP. “The Ponoka RCMP remains undaunted in our efforts to pursue and apprehend criminals whose acts put the safety of the community members at risk.”

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