RCMP Sooke
(File photo)

Two people are still at large after two Port Alberni RCMP officers were attacked with bear spray when trying to arrest a man who had just crashed a stolen vehicle on Tuesday.

Around 7:15 a.m. officers were called to a scene where a truck and attached trailer had crashed into a ditch.

“It was blocking traffic,” Cpl. Amelia Hayden, Port Alberni RCMP, told Victoria Buzz.

Once police arrived, they found two occupants inside the vehicle, a man and a woman. While at the scene, the officers then identified the truck as one that had been reported stolen.

“When the member found out the vehicle was stolen he advised the male that he was under arrest for possession of stolen property,” said Hayden.

“That’s when the man reached into his coat and grabbed a can of bear spray and sprayed our members.”

After using the bear spray, the man fled on foot. One officer was incapacitated immediately, but his partner got up to give chase.

While fleeing, the man then tried to steal another vehicle, but was unsuccessful. The one officer that was still giving chase was unable to apprehend the man as he was still under the effects of the bear spray.

Meanwhile, the woman who was also occupying the stolen truck slipped away during the chase.

“She walked away from the scene,” said Hayden.

To help with the search, two police dogs were called in from Nanaimo. Both individuals are still at large, and the man was previously known to police.

Cpl. Hayden said that the RCMP are requesting charges of assault against a police officer and assault with a weapon.

The two RCMP officers have made full recoveries since the attack.

“They needed to get decontaminated then both members were able to return to work later in the shift.”

“It just speaks volumes to the level of commitment our members have here.”