It might not make an episode of COPS or World’s Scariest Police Chases, but an incident involving a fugitive tractor and two police cruisers hot on its tail in Elmira last weekend was the subject of local gossip, quickly making appearances on the popular networking sites of Facebook and YouTube.
Police in Elmira gave chase to a tractor after it was stolen from a Maryhill Road area farm on June 5.
The driver of the tractor, 34-year-old Troy Victor Taibinger from the Walkerton area, led police officers in two cruisers on a wild chase that spanned the townships of Woolwich and Wellesley and lasted some two hours. He was later arrested and charged with ‘theft over $5,000,’ ‘possession of stolen property over $5,000,’ ‘flight from police,’ ‘dangerous operation of a motor vehicle’ and ‘possession of a controlled substance.’
At a court appearance in Kitchener this week, Taibinger claimed that he had been high on crystal meth before stealing a tractor from a Maryhill Road farm in the early hours of June 5.
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Later that day, at approximately 8:30 p.m., police spotted the tractor in Elmira. Responding officers first observed the New Holland cab tractor with a front-end loader near the Petro Canada gas station on Arthur Street in Elmira. Looking to fill the tractor with diesel, the driver was unable to do so at that location and subsequently drove off.
Police followed the tractor and waited until it cleared the town’s urban core before approaching the driver.
They attempted to stop Taibinger but he refused, taking off and leading them on a chase through area fields.
Many residents watched and videotaped the incident as the tractor, better suited for the uneven ground, led the cruisers across rough terrain.
“A tractor can go places a cruiser can’t,” said Sgt. Siegfried Peters, who heads Division 3A in Elmira.
The police drivers had to exercise caution so that their vehicles didn’t get stuck in the mud or in the waist-high grass, he said.
At times the tractor came close to public spaces, raising fear of injury.
“The officers were very concerned – not knowing if the driver was drunk – [that] he was headed for the soccer field,” said Peters, noting that police were successful in their efforts to turn the tractor away from the field at Lions Park on Barnswallow Drive.
The chase came to a conclusion when the tractor ran out of a gas while in the area of Ament Line and Herrgott Road near St. Clements.
“We actually knew that it only had a quarter tank of gas and we were expecting it to run out of gas,” Peters explained.
Police continue to investigate the incident and are asking landowners who may have received property damage related to this incident to contact them. Anyone wishing to file a report should call 519-570-3000, ext. 3319 or 3399, referencing WRPS occurrence number 09-107419.