NEWS

Tow-truck driver facing bomb threat kept calm

01/13/2012 10:42 EST | Updated 03/14/2012 05:12 EDT

A northern Ontario tow truck driver threatened by a man allegedly holding an explosive device says he's glad he could help resolve the Wednesday night incident on Highway 144 between Sudbury and Timmins without anyone getting hurt.

A 25-year-old man from Chatham is in hospital for a psychiatric assessment and faces several charges including possession of a weapon and possession of explosives after he allegedly threatened police and the tow-truck driver with what police described as an improvised explosive device.

Kevin Serre, a driver with Watershed Towing, said he first called police after seeing a man fill his truck with gas at the Watershed Gas Station and drive off without paying. Serre said he decided to follow the driver and saw the truck hit the ditch.

"I tried to assist him, said Serre. "He had an IED on him — an improvised explosive device."

Serre said he phoned police again as things escalated.

"He tried to steal my truck. He tried to kidnap me. He held the bomb to me."

Serre said he stayed calm as they waited for police to arrive.

"I could tell the young man was really distressed. He was sick more than angry. He was really paranoid and stuff, talking about government conspiracies and whatnot."

Serre said he's used to dealing with people who are in stressful situations, but he had never experienced a situation like this.

"I love my job, this is what I do. I'm just glad I could help the kid out and that he didn't hurt himself."

The highway was closed for several hours as the provincial police explosives unit checked the area. Police would not say exactly what kind of explosive was in the accused's possession.

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