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“I was hunted” Grand Forks woman recounts being chased by truck on Highway 33

Karen Millard describes estremely aggressive driver following her car
Karen Millard, seen here in a file photo, says she is sure she was the target of two men actively hunting for lone female drivers on Highway 33. Photo: Gazette file

A local artist is asking people, especially women travelling alone, to be on the lookout after she says she was stalked by two men in a black truck on the highway north of Beaverdell.

Karen Millard, a watercolour artist who lives north of Grand Forks, says she’s sure a truck that followed her from the brake check pullout near Big White to a rest stop north of Beaverdell was actively “hunting” her because she was travelling alone and in a smaller vehicle.

The incident occurred March 24 driving back from Kelowna. Around 10 p.m., she passed by a side road south of the Big White turnoff, noticing a black truck, which came out and got behind her. Over the next 45 kilometres, the truck would get within feet of her back bumper and flash a “low jack” light bar – a bright array of lights often mounted on the front of the vehicle, which she described as “blinding.”

Millard became sure they were following her because there were chances for them to pass.

“I was thinking at first ‘fine, you’re in a hurry, okay, I’ll pull aside” she said. “But I got to a passing lane and I was partially on the shoulder to let them pass and they stayed on my bumper, they had no intention of passing. If there was oncoming traffic, they turned off the lights and fell back about 100 metres, but as soon as they were gone, they were back on my bumper, flashing the low jacks.”

She pulled into the rest area north of Beaverdell out of desperation, but found herself blocked in by the truck. However, at the far end of the rest stop was a motor home. Millard got out of her car to go to the motor home, when the driver of the truck, whom she described as around six-foot-two inches, got out and started walking towards her. The lights in the motor home turned on, then the truck driver backed off and got back in the truck, arguing with the passenger.

They waited another 15 minutes before leaving. Millard waited until she saw headlights going south, then pulled out and got behind the other vehicle.

“I’ve seen aggressive driving, but that was off the charts,” she said. “I’m sure they were looking for a single person in a (expletive) car. I don’t think it was anything personal, I was just the right flavour and the right time for them.”

Because it was dark, in flight mode and the lights of the truck were flashing, she couldn’t say for sure what the truck’s make or model was, nor a solid description of the men. One advantage was the full moon gave her some natural light. WIthout it, Millard said she is sure she wouldn’t be able to drive.

“That was 40 minutes of them chasing me. I’m mad, not scared. Bullies do not like it when someone stands up to them,” she said. “I’m not afraid to put my name out there.”

While some have questioned the validity of her experience, she said she contacted Grand Forks RCMP, whom told her they would be forwarding it to the Midway detachment. The Gazette left a message with Grand Forks and Midway RCMP for follow-up.

She’s also not surprised people are questioning the story because she says it’s similar to how sex offenders get away with their crimes.

“I don’t care who questions my ethics or character, I’m telling the truth,” she said. “It was terrible, but I’m glad it happened to me because I don’t think an inexperienced driver would’ve gotten out of that.”

Crediting her age and larger size, Millard said if she was a younger and less experienced driver, this could’ve ended much worse. She lived along Highway 16, dubbed the Highway of Tears due to the number of Indigenous women that’ve been reported missing or found dead. She knows three of the women on the missing list, and she’s fully aware of the prevalence of women being stalked on remote roads.

She also encourages anyone who had a similar experience to report it and talk openly.

“I want them to know I’m not afraid and maybe it will scare them off,” she said.

About the Author: Karen McKinley

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