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Nanaimo police catch suspect in assault case

A 43-year-old man is in custody and facing numerous recommended charges after allegedly beating and threatening a 29-year-old woman early Wednesday.

The assault happened at about 12:30 a.m. when the victim was giving rides home to two men after a social function in north Nanaimo. She dropped one man off and was driving the second man home when she pulled over in a parking lot on Jingle Pot Road to check her cellphone.

"Suddenly he just starts wailing on her and he tells her while beating on her to go to a secluded area," said Const. Gary O'Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

The victim, who was punched and choked continually for several minutes, pretended to comply with his demands, but instead drove to her home in central Nanaimo where she blew the car's horn to alert her roommates, fled the car and called 911.

The suspect took the victim's Honda Civic, which was spotted by police on Third Street just after 1 a.m.

"He takes off and we find the car again on Foster Street," O'Brien said.

Police tried to box in the car but the suspect sideswiped two police cars as he sped off.

At about 1:30 a.m. a motor vehicle accident was reported at Vancouver Island University where a witness saw a man walking through the campus.

Const. Clay Wurzinger and police dog Boomer followed a track from the crash scene to the suspect who was found at about 2 a.m. hiding in some bushes. He was treated at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for dog bites after he resisted arrest.

"We have 11 charges against him," O'Brien said. "The more serious are assault causing bodily harm, forcible confinement, fleeing police, assault, threats."

The suspect was scheduled to appear in Nanaimo provincial court Wednesday afternoon.

The victim has been released from Nanaimo Regional General Hospital where she was treated for multiple injuries from the assault. O'Brien said the victim is traumatized, but cooperating with police and that due to the level of violence investigators will be looking to see if the suspect has a history of similar behaviour.

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