Merritt RCMP have arrested three people in connection with a Metro Vancouver carjacking after an attempted traffic stop led to the closure of the Coquihalla Highway on Wednesday.
Sgt. Josh Roda said officers from several units attempted to stop a black Dodge Ram on the mountain highway, believing the vehicle had previously been stolen in Coquitlam, B.C., around 130 kilometres to the west.
But police said the vehicle tried to evade officers by taking a side road off the highway between Hope and Merritt.
When the vehicle became stuck, Roda says three people ran from the vehicle. Witness reports said one of the suspects was carrying a firearm, according to police.
Officers from Merritt RCMP and the South-East District Emergency Response Team began a ground search, and soon found and arrested a woman.
Several hours later, two male suspects were found and arrested without incident.
During the search, a nearby Trans Mountain pipeline worksite was evacuated for workers' safety and the highway was closed for several hours, police said.
"Without knowing [the suspects'] identities or their intentions, and reports indicating they were armed, we felt it was best to keep all members of the public from the scene," said Roda.
Police say they have confirmed the Dodge Ram was stolen from Coquitlam and had a licence plate stolen from Langley, but Roda said, "there is no indication that these suspects are related to any recent high-profile events in the Lower Mainland, or Merritt."
On Tuesday, multiple people were injured in an armed robbery at a car dealership in Coquitlam, B.C., that resulted in a vehicle chase, gunfire and the temporary closure of Highway 1.
In Merritt, a man believed to be connected to recent shootings in the city was arrested after a standoff with police on Wednesday.
Anyone with information or dashcam footage from the area of Juliet Bridge near the Coquihalla summit between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. is asked to contact police.