CUPW workers on the picket line during the morning of Oct. 31. In the afternoon, there was an incident involving an elderly man who allegedly tried to drive through the picket line. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

No charges pending after driver confronts picket line in Campbell River

Police suggest the incident might be more a matter of mediation

No charges are pending in relation to an incident between an elderly driver and postal workers on a recent picket line in Campbell River.

The man wanting his mail allegedly drove through the Canada Post picket line Wednesday afternoon. The incident took place around 1:40 p.m. on Oct. 31, the day local postal workers were taking part in a 24-hour rotating strike.

RELATED STORY: Canada Post strike hits Campbell River

CUPW local president Ryan Wright said the man was angry and wanted his mail, then drove into workers on the picket line at the Ironwood Street.

“It was a scary situation, everybody was shocked,” he said. “It was a strange one.”

The man allegedly ran into one person and brushed a couple of other people with his vehicle.

“He struck one of our members quite hard, and sent another two or three people off to the side,” Wright said. “He just gunned it and hit them.”

Workers had also been telling people they could park and walk into the post office to collect mail from their private boxes, Wright said.

“Our fight isn’t with the public,” he said. “We were happy to let people walk past.”

For the most part, Wright said the public was supportive, and several peole brought food to the picket line. There was one other person who showed up to argue later in the day, but there were no further incidents beyond the one with the driver.

He thinks the driver might not have understood that he would be allowed to collect his mail.

“He just shouted, ‘I want my mail,’ and hit the gas,” he said. “He actually drove through so fast and kept his foot on the accelerator that he almost blew through the gate at the back of our compound.”

Campbell River RCMP attended the scene and talked to witnesses. Wright says the main witnesses provided full statements, while police send around a clipboard for others on the scene to provide an details.

“We had multiple members attend,” said Sgt. Dave Johnson of Campbell River RCMP. “They determined that there was light contact between the striking male and the vehicle.”

The driver was, according to police, “trying to slowly get through the picket line…. but they were standing in front of him.” Johnson also said at some point someone tried to open the passenger side door of the vehicle, which concerned the driver and caused him to leave the scene. Police located and spoke to the man, determining there was no criminal intent.

“It was just one of those situations that is regrettable when situations like this happen and there’s a vehicle trying to enter the public parking lot,” Johnson said.

While police are not currenty recommending charges, Johnson added that this could be a situation for some kind of mediation if the parties are agreeable.

The postal workers in Campbell River and the North Island were out on strike for a 24-hour period in response to stalled negotitions with Canada Post over issues such as safety and work conditions. Postal workers in other communities such as Courtenay, Nanaimo and Port Alberni were also off the job.

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