Snowmobiler in driver’s seat for wild tractor chase

The man who gave a Mountie a ride on his snowmobile to chase a tractor gone wild was angry after the tractor busted through his fences. Steve Henry was making dinner on Wednesday night with his wife when they saw the tractor come into their yard.

The man who gave a Mountie a ride on his snowmobile to chase a tractor gone wild was angry after the tractor busted through his fences.

Steve Henry was making dinner on Wednesday night with his wife when they saw the tractor come into their yard.

“He (suspect) drove it through a couple of our fence lines,” said Henry. “I thought it was a neighbour screwing around or something, so I was more annoyed than anything.”

Henry went out into the yard and saw the tractor go through another fence. Harris then got his snowmobile to chase after the tractor.

“It was just by fluke the cops happened to come by,” said Henry. “They came onto our property when I was just about to leave with the sled to go track the tractor down.”

Henry pointed out to a Blackfalds RCMP officer where the tractor was heading.

“Can you take me to him?” the officer asked Henry.

Henry drove the snowmobile with Const. Adrian Dean sitting behind him. As they followed the tractor, the officer tried to get the driver to pull over, recalled Henry.

“It was clear he had no intention to stop.”

They were chasing the tractor up a hill when it stalled. Dean jumped off to arrest the suspect while Henry waited with his snowmobile.

“The tractor had stalled and the officer was waiting to try to open the door and get the guy stopped,” said Henry. “But that’s when the tractor started backing up.

“The suspect had the bucket way up in the air and that may have helped it roll over, it slid and rolled. Then I helped the officer get him in handcuffs.”

The tractor belonged to George Jackson, who lives east of Red Deer on Hwy 595. He was just coming home around 5 p.m. when he saw “someone trying to steal my $100,000 (John Deere 6400) tractor.”

Jackson was heading out to check on his cows because they are calving right now. He saw his tractor on a hill he hadn’t left it at so he asked his wife and she said she hadn’t left it there.

“I drove another hundred yards and saw our ATV was stuck,” said Jackson. “When I saw him (suspect) I started running down the hill, yelled to my wife to phone 911, she ran back to the house. He saw me running down the hill so he started the tractor to bust through the fence.”

The suspect took off across the field and Jackson said the tractor tore down fences and trees, leaving behind a path of destruction.

Seeing his tractor heading west, Jackson thought the suspect had to be heading towards Hwy 816, just west of his property. He got in his truck and drove out to Hwy 816.

“I saw him there, he was busting down our neighbour’s fence into their horse field,” said Jackson.

Jackson did not see his tractor crash, but said it is not in good shape. He has taken it into Deermart in Red Deer to get it fixed.

On Friday he went out to where the tractor rolled and found some tools that were missing and happened upon a cellphone he didn’t recognize. He has notified the police of the cellphone he thinks belongs to the suspect.

“At the beginning I was more mad he had wrecked our fence and I didn’t think there was any risk there,” said Henry.

“I’m just happy nobody got hurt. I feel bad for the guy who owned the tractor. Even though the guy was in the wrong for taking it, I’m glad he didn’t get hurt either. He could have easily been hurt,” Henry said.

Jesse Cecka, 25, of no fixed address, has been charged with break, enter and theft; theft over $5,000; breach of court orders and multiple counts of mischief. He appeared in Red Deer provincial court on Friday. Represented by legal aid defence counsel Murray Shack, he asked that the matters go over to Wednesday. Cecka remains in custody.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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