Man attempts smuggling, crashes twice

Published on Thu, Dec 4, 2003
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Man attempts smuggling, crashes twice

A 31-year-old Canadian man attempting to smuggle 100 pounds of marijuana into the U.S., crashed at the Pacific Highway after fleeing from authorities.

William Shawn Merrick, of Surrey, B.C. attempted to smuggle the drugs into the U.S. on the morning of Wednesday, November 26, but was first intercepted by U.S. border patrol agents shortly after 10 a.m. Merrick was driving a new model red Ford Explorer SUV across the border through a ditch west of the Lynden/Aldergrove port of entry, and agents alerted Blaine police when it appeared he would not stop and intended to flee, according to Blaine police chief Mike Haslip. Blaine police officers observed the pickup approaching city limits on Sweet Road at an estimated speed of 100 miles per hour. The police then successfully deployed a spike strip which damaged three tires on Merrick�s vehicle. He continued to flee, driving on the wheel rims at speeds which exceeded 60 miles per hour.

Blaine officers followed as Merrick entered the I-5 corridor, Haslip said. The officers then called for U.S. Customs to stop southbound traffic entering the U.S. on the freeway when Merrick turned his SUV around and drove northbound in the southbound lanes of I-5 for approximately one mile. The suspect then exited I-5 on to the Blaine truck route, running traffic lights and driving around traffic on the wrong side of the road, almost causing several accidents. He drove north past the Blaine school district complex, and approached the U.S.-Canadian border, where U.S. dispatchers had already notified Canadian Customs officers.

Merrick then crashed his vehicle through a closed traffic lane at the Pacific Highway crossing, almost losing control of the SUV, Haslip said. Merrick continued speeding north into Canada, and U.S. officers discontinued their pursuit at the border crossing.

Minutes later, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) units converged on an area a couple of miles from the border in South Surrey, B.C. Merrick fled into the woods after crashing the vehicle into a tree on a side road north of the port of entry.�

RCMP members found Merrick hiding nearby, and approximately 100 pounds of marijuana in two duffel bags in the vehicle.

Blaine police will be seeking a warrant in Washington State for Merrick for felony charges related to the incident.�No one was injured during the chase.