Mounties describe 'harrowing' recapture of escaped Alberta inmate

FORT NELSON, B.C. - British Columbia RCMP are describing a "harrowing" attempt to recapture an escaped Alberta prisoner this week, saying at one point the man and an accomplice carjacked a 16-year-old boy and a baby.

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Cpl. Dan Moskaluk of the Northern Rockies RCMP says in a news release that the chase began Tuesday morning when employees at a Husky bulk fuel plant along Highway 97 reported seeing Harley John Lay, 29.

While several Mounties stopped traffic on the highway, others moved in and tried to stop a minivan carrying the prisoner, but it got away.

Down the road, they deployed a spike belt which slowed the vehicle as it continued toward Fort Nelson, B.C., with officers following at a safe distance behind with emergency lights and sirens activated.

One the minivan hit city limits, the pursuit was stopped but officers later spotted the vehicle and approached it, arresting a female occupant without incident.

Then, police received a report of a truck at a fast-food restaurant being carjacked.

"It was alleged that the two males obtained the vehicle by telling a 16-year-old male to get out of the truck," says Moskaluk.

"The young man did have time to retrieve an infant that was in a car seat in the vehicle."

RCMP found the truck in a ditch. Moskaluk says police allege Lay and a second male tried to commandeer another vehicle but traffic would not stop for them. They were arrested without incident.

Mounties allege Lay escaped on Monday while he was being escorted to a hospital in Peace River, Alta.

They say a masked gunman confronted guards who were escorting Lay, and that the pair jumped into a minivan driven by a third person.

Court records indicate Lay was most recently was behind bars facing numerous charges, including unlawful confinement, dating back to last July.

He also faced a charge of escaping lawful custody in 2011 and has previously served time for drug trafficking.


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