Local man charged after domestic dispute, police manhunt

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) blocked traffic in both directions on Highway 540 near the Blackburn Road area at Elizabeth Bay in Evansville for several hours this past Sunday. The highway was blocked as the OPP searched for a local man charged in a domestic dispute.

EVANSVILLE – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Canine Unit, Emergency Response Team members (ERT), crisis negotiators and the critical incident command, as well as the Tactics and Rescue Units (TRU) and search helicopter were brought in to assist with an investigation into the response to a domestic dispute at a residence on Highway 540 in Evansville on November 22. 

On November 22 at approximately 10 am, an occurrence had been called into the OPP. Police were called by the complainant, who stated they feared for their safety after a verbal and physical altercation that had recently taken place. Police attended the residence but the accused had already departed on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). After the police investigation it was alleged that the accused had assaulted the complainant multiple times and used a firearm in a threatening manner.

As the accused had departed the scene on an ATV, the OPP closed the highway access in both directions at about 3 pm. As well, residents on Blackburn Road and the area were told by police to evacuate their homes, trailers and cottages. An OPP helicopter was also brought in to search for the accused in the heavily wooded area. 

At approximately 7:25 pm, a peaceful arrest took place. The roads were opened again at approximately 8:24 pm.

A 35-year-old from Burpee and Mills was arrested and charged with: assault with a weapon, spousal; assault cause bodily harm, spousal; assault, spousal; careless use of firearm, weapon, prohibited device or ammunition; and three counts of failure to comply with undertaking.

A resident of Blackburn Road told the Recorder, “The OPP told us that the road was going to be blocked and people on this road and in the area were going to be evacuated. I wasn’t sure what was going on at that point, but it was a little scary that they were taking all this action and I could hear the helicopter in the air for several hours. I think we all knew it was a potentially serious and dangerous situation.”

The roadblock, which took in from the area of Highway 540 before the turnoff to Blackburn Road and the Little Lake Huron Road at the other side, left many vehicles and travellers stranded for about five hours. 

The accused was scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice Bail Court in Gore Bay on November 23. The OPP will not be releasing the name in order to protect the identity of the victim.