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Concerned West Shore citizens mistake EV counter for a person in distress

Volunteer at Helmcken Road overpass railing approached by responding police
A Victoria Electric Vehicle Association volunteer counting EVs in the morning commute Wednesday from the Helmcken Road overpass, the view from which is shown here, attracted a well-being check from West Shore RCMP, after a citizen called about a possible person in distress. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Victoria Electric Vehicle Association’s annual Spring EV count caused a bit of a commotion Wednesday morning after one of its members was mistaken for a person in distress, resulting in police being called.

Association president David Grove said volunteer Glenn Garry was standing on the Helmcken Road overpass crossing the Trans-Canada Highway when he was suddenly approached by an RCMP officer.

“He was quite startled when the police showed up, but he said he was all good and was just counting electric vehicles,” said Grove. “The police were aware of us, and they know us, but I guess they got a call from people who were concerned. It’s good to know people are looking out for each other.”

Garry was on the overpass counting the number of electric vehicles seen on access roads coming and going from Victoria, but was mistaken for a person in distress by a passerby who contacted police around 8 a.m., a response that resulted in brief traffic disruptions.

While the incident ended up being a false alarm, West Shore RCMP Const. Meghan Groulx said citizens are encouraged to report any suspicious or concerning activity in the community to police.

The confusion led to a flurry of social media posts from concerned citizens, with many commenters hoping everyone involved was alright. Others used it as an opportunity to call for increased mental health services.

Garry himself chimed in on social media, identifying himself as the “jumper” to explain what was happening and to thank the “compassionate, if imaginative” concerned citizen for reporting it to police.

Grove said if nothing else, the incident showed how caring the community is and the association would look at ways to better identify their volunteers the next time they conduct a count.

In terms of the numbers from the count, Grove reported a 70-per-cent increase in EV’s spotted on the road compared to last year. A total of 1,728 electric vehicles were counted between 6:30 and 9 a.m. on April 13, compared to 1,023 in 2021.

READ MORE: Prime minister rolls into Greater Victoria to boost Liberal electric vehicle moves


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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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