The accused in a Winnipeg police chase and collision that led to the death of another driver Monday has more than 50 criminal convictions to his name.

The accused in a Winnipeg police chase and collision that led to the death of another driver Monday has more than 50 criminal convictions to his name.

On Monday, city police attempted to pull a vehicle over for a traffic stop on eastbound Provencher Boulevard. It was about noon, and there was a lunch-hour rush, according to witness Don Williamson.

Williamson said he had changed lanes to give space for a police vehicle and a silver car it had flagged.

"As I was going by, the car started driving away," Williamson said Tuesday.

"I thought, 'Oh, guy got a ticket, the thing's over.' Well, then he flew right in front of me and went flying down... swerving through traffic, and the police cars went after him."

The suspect vehicle weaved through traffic until it hit a median. The car rolled several times, struck a white vehicle going westbound and smashed its roof.

The second vehicle's driver, a woman, died at the scene near Nadeau Road, police said.

The suspect car stopped, wheels-up, near a sidewalk and bus bench.

The vehicle fleeing police lost control and mounted the median and rolled, striking an oncoming vehicle. (Graem Poole photo)</p>

The vehicle fleeing police lost control and mounted the median and rolled, striking an oncoming vehicle. (Graem Poole photo)

"I was shocked," Williamson said. "It was really bad... There were so many parts all over the place, you couldn't tell what the car was."

A man crawled out a window of the silver car and tried to run, but police officers caught him, Williamson said. "They walked him back slowly, put him in the (police) car slowly."

When Graem Poole stepped outside to grab lunch, he saw the rolled-over car and some seven police vehicles diverting traffic and officers attending the scene.

A bit earlier, he'd heard a loud crunch from his office, which borders Provencher Boulevard. "I thought maybe it was garbage trucks of something, but it was quite a bit of a different sound," he said.

As Poole walked, he saw the white vehicle; officials had put a tarp over it.

"You really feel quite... vulnerable when you see something like that, because the person that got struck, that could've been anybody," he said.

Police arrested James Joseph Wieler, 31. He faces several charges, including operating a vehicle causing death while impaired, fleeing from peace officers, and operating a vehicle while prohibited pursuant to a federal or provincial act.

He remains in custody; his next court date is Oct. 15.

Wieler has previously faced drug and weapons charges — and has 36 convictions for breaching court orders.

A man crawled out a window of the suspect vehicle and tried to run, but police officers caught him, a witness says. (Graem Poole photo)

A man crawled out a window of the suspect vehicle and tried to run, but police officers caught him, a witness says. (Graem Poole photo)

In January, he was sentenced to time served plus 13 months custody for possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking.

At the time, court heard Wieler’s criminal involvement was linked to a long-standing substance abuse problem.

"I have a pretty bad drug problem," he told Judge Cindy Sholdice. "I've been trying to get help for it.

"I'm trying to change my life. I'm sick of coming to jail all the time. I'm at my wit's end."

Portions of Provencher Boulevard were closed for roughly 12 hours Monday.

"That intersection was a bit of a mess due to the collision," Winnipeg Police Service Const. Dani McKinnon said, adding officers were needed for pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba has opened a file on the case, as it probes all serious on- or off-duty incidents involving police officers.

Anyone who has information or video footage on the incident can call the IIU at 1-844-667-6060.

— with files from Dean Pritchard

gabrielle.piche@winnipegfreepress.com

Gabrielle Piché

Gabrielle Piché
Reporter

Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.