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Man charged in deadly hit and run is 'the definition of a prolific offender,' police say

RCMP say a man facing charges after a woman was killed during a police chase near Edmonton was wanted on warrants for other crimes in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Peter Richard Ashby, 35, is facing several offences in relation to the hit and run on Saturday, including dangerous driving causing death, assaulting a police officer and theft of a car.

Police arrested Ashby at a residence in Wainwright, Alta., on Tuesday evening.

Warrants were issued for Ashby's arrest at the end of December stemming from thefts at the Spruce Grove Tri Leisure Centre. He was also wanted in Edmonton for theft charges from January 2023. Police say Ashby is facing theft charges in Saskatchewan for April offences.

<who>Photo Credit: Canadian Press/Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank</who> Kassandra Gartner.

"Peter Richard Ashby is the definition of a prolific offender," Supt. Leanne MacMillan told reporters on Thursday.

"Offenders such as these cause the majority of harm to our communities, repeatedly victimizing the public and utilizing significant police resources in investigating their seemingly never-ending crimes."

Police confirmed the identity of the victim as Kassandra Gartner, 45, of Fort Saskatchewan after the city's mayor and Gartner's co-workers spoke publicly about her death.

Gartner was described as a pillar in the community and someone who was dedicated to helping those in need. She was a mother of three and the executive director of the Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank.

The chase began after RCMP in Beaumont, just south of Edmonton, tried to arrest a man in a parked truck. Police said the driver sped off and later rammed an RCMP vehicle.

Gartner's vehicle was disabled, along with several other civilian vehicles and the truck, by a police spike belt during the chase. When Gartner stopped and got out to check on the damage, she was hit by the truck Ashby was allegedly driving.

"Our thoughts remain with the victim, their family, their friends and all those that have been affected by this tragedy," said MacMillan.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has launched an investigation into the police response.

Ashby has been remanded into custody and is set to appear in court on March 7.

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