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Man arrested in fatal hit-and-run during police chase was 'prolific offender': RCMP

A U-Haul truck and a black car were involved in a crash near 50 Street and 22 Avenue the night of Feb. 24, 2024. (Sean McClune/CTV News Edmonton) A U-Haul truck and a black car were involved in a crash near 50 Street and 22 Avenue the night of Feb. 24, 2024. (Sean McClune/CTV News Edmonton)

The man accused of hitting and killing a Fort Saskatchewan woman while fleeing police in a U-Haul was wanted for various crimes over the past year in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Mounties say.

Beaumont RCMP confirmed to media in an update on Thursday that 35-year-old Peter Richard Ashby of no fixed address was arrested in Wainwright, Alta., Tuesday evening.

"There was a relatively brief period of negotiation to have him surrender from a residence. We had enacted our emergency response team to attend, however, our resources on the ground from the Wainwright RCMP detachment were successful in negotiating the individual to turn himself over to police," Insp. Carson Creaser with the Central Alberta District said.

He called having Ashby in police custody "a relief for us and hopefully for the community."

Fort Saskatchewan resident Kassandra Gartner, 45, was killed on Saturday in south Edmonton when she was hit by the U-Haul that Ashby was allegedly driving while trying to escape police.

Gartner was one of three civilians that had driven over a spike belt Mounties had deployed on 50 Street. She was struck outside her vehicle while investigating what had happened.

The U-Haul also hit another vehicle, sending one man to hospital, before it was crashed at a south Edmonton gas station. From there, Ashby allegedly stole a 2020 Honda Civic with a child inside.

The child was found unhurt a short while later several blocks away.

The stolen Honda Civic was found outside Wainwright in eastern Alberta, where Ashby was arrested.

Ashby faces several charges in connection with the Saturday events, including dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, flight from police, two counts of assault on a police officer with a weapon, and failure to stop at an accident causing death.

He was wanted on warrants out of Parkland County, Edmonton and Wynyard, Sask., related to theft, driving while prohibited, and break-and-enter.

"Peter Richard Ashby is the definition of a prolific offender. And offenders such as these cause the majority of harm to our communities, repeatedly victimizing the public, utilizing significant resources (that are) tasked with investigating these seemingly never-ending crimes," Supt. Leanne MacMillan said.

Neither she nor Creaser spoke about the RCMP's use of the spike belt, deferring because the matter is being investigated by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, which reviews any police conduct that ends in serious injury or death.

However, MacMillan told reporters, "there's more incidents" that Saturday's officers took into consideration when pursuing Ashby and deploying a spike belt in addition to the initial call about stolen Amazon packages.

"(ASIRT is) going to be looking at the totality of events," MacMillan said.

RCMP also would not provide any further detail about the woman who was believed to have been in the U-Haul during the police chase and who was taken into police custody from the gas station.

MacMillan offered her condolences to the Gartner's family and loved ones.

"Of course, when there is a tragedy like this involved with a mother and a family, it's difficult for everybody. We're doing what we can to address and help our officers within our health services."

Ashby is scheduled to appear in court on March 7.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nav Sangha Top Stories

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