SUNDRE — A pickup truck that was initially called in to local Mounties as a potentially abandoned stolen vehicle turned out to have inadvertently become trapped in mud after being unlawfully driven by its owner along the Red Deer River's banks.
The Sundre RCMP detachment reported that a caller informed police on Thursday, May 5 that they had seen what they believed to be an abandoned pickup truck left in the mud along the Red Deer River northeast of Sundre.
“The complainant thought the vehicle could have been stolen,” reads a portion of the press release that was received on Tuesday, May 10.
Mounties arrived at the scene and determined the pickup was in fact not stolen but rather “had become stuck and the owner was making arrangements to have the vehicle removed.”
Also dispatched to the scene was Sundre Fish and Wildlife, which played a role “in the investigation due to obvious environmental damage to the bank of the Red Deer River and apparent garbage in the river from the truck,” police reported, adding beverage containers and vehicle parts had come off the pickup, including bumpers, a headache rack as well as the muffler.
The truck’s owner, who was not named and is from out of town, was said by police to have “cleaned up all the garbage.” As a result of the Fish and Wildlife investigation, he was charged with entering onto public land that is bed and shore of a natural waterbody with a wheeled vehicle contrary to Public Lands Administration Regulation and subsequently fined $300.
Levi Neufeld, Sundre Fish and Wildlife district officer, explained why such activity is an environmental concern and said that spinning tires tend to kick up plumes of fine sediment that wouldn’t otherwise naturally occur.
“It then floats downstream, covering fish eggs, clogging the gills of fish and coating other aquatic life, which can cause them to suffocate,” he wrote in a statement following up on the original press release.
“Over time, repeat crossings and activities in the water can change the flow of the water body itself,” he added. “Oils and other chemicals can also pollute the water causing damage to fish and aquatic life.”
Members of the public may report suspicious activity to the Sundre RCMP at 403-638-3675, or by calling their local police department. Callers who prefer to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), submit information online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the P3 Tips app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.
Alternatively, suspicious activity on public lands can also be reported by calling 310-5263 (LAND) or the Report A Poacher line1-800-642-3800.