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UPDATE: Witnesses needed as watchdog investigates highway tractor crash

Chilliwack farmer had been pulled over prior to crashing with RCMP cruiser in Surrey
Police chased the tractor along Highway 1 until the 176th Street offramp, where it collided with a BC Highway Patrol vehicle (Photo: Curtis Kreklau/ South Fraser News Services)

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. (IIO) is now involved in a highway crash involving a farm tractor and an RCMP cruiser in Surrey.

The driver of the tractor, Chilliwack strawberry farmer Bill Shoker, was injured in the crash Saturday and had been part of a protest convoy.

Several videos have emerged on social media that paint a picture of the events. Some were posted by Shoker himself, and include videos of driving down Highway 1 and explaining his reasons for joining the protest, which was against a teaching resource called SOGI 123. A large black and white flag that said ‘stop SOGI 123’ was attached to the back of his John Deere tractor, and a Canada flag was attached to the side.

Other videos show the tractor being driven erratically down the highway, and eventually colliding with one of the police cruisers that were pursuing him at the time. As of Monday after, Shoker remained in hospital.

However, witnesses have also reported that police had pulled Shoker over prior to the crash, at about 11:15 a.m.

That traffic stop was just east of the Clearbrook Road exit in Abbotsford, heading west.

Immediately following the crash, RCMP told media that one person was arrested and sent to hospital following the crash at the 176th Street offramp. That arrest was also recorded by travellers on the highway at the time. Both the police cruiser and the tractor are heavily damaged.

IIO confirmed they are investigating the police involvement in the matter and also hoping to hear from witnesses. The agency released a statement Nov. 27 with more details about the crash.

Police tried to stop the tractor at about 1:20 p.m., westbound at the 176th Street overpass on Highway 1, RCMP have reported to the IIO.

“The IIO was notified of the incident later the same day and has commenced an investigation,” the statement said. “Initial investigative steps will seek to confirm the details of the incident and if the man’s injuries meet the threshold of serious harm, as defined by the Police Act.”

Anybody with relevant information or video footage of the incident is asked to contact the IIO via the witness line toll-free at 1-855-446-8477 or using the contact form on the website.

B.C. Highway Patrol will continue to investigate the actions of the driver, and the Surrey RCMP are investigating the collision between the tractor and the police vehicle.

READ MORE: Police chase tractor down Highway 1 in Surrey; ends in crash

READ MORE: Chilliwack farmer part of anti-SOGI convoy when tractor crashed on highway

Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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