When officer ran to save driver of burning vehicle, driver stole patrol car, police say

An attempted speeding stop in the east end on Saturday ended with the arrest in Harbord Village of a 43-year-old man on 13 charges.

Along the way, the bizarre sequence of events included a crash into a store window, a vehicle bursting into flames, a stolen patrol car, and a scuffle with arresting officers, according to a Toronto Police account released Monday afternoon.

Police say it began May 23 about 7:45 p.m., when a car was reported speeding near Eastern and Coxwell avenues.

They tried to stop a black, four-door, 2017 Ford Fusion, but the driver wouldn’t halt, police say.

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In the interest of public safety, police called off the pursuit — only to learn the car was then involved in a collision. The vehicle reportedly drove into the display window of a store near Queen Street East and Jarvis Street, where  it burst into flames.

An officer arrived on the scene and ran to the burning car to provide aid to the driver, but the driver had apparently already escaped from the car.

The driver then allegedly got into the officer’s car and drove away.

Officers pursued and made several attempts to stop the car, but again had to call off the pursuit.

Several minutes later, the car stopped on Harbord Street, police say.

Officer allegedly assaulted

When an officer approached the driver, the man allegedly resisted arrest. A struggle ensued and the man assaulted the officer, police say.

After more officers arrived on the scene, the man was reported arrested and taken into custody.

In all these events, no injuries to the public or further injuries to police officers were reported.

Cosmin Radulet of Toronto was charged with 13 counts including dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, flight from police, theft of a motor vehicle, mischief over $5,000, assault with a weapon, and assaulting a peace officer.

He appeared in court on May 24.

Investigators are urging anyone with dash-cam or cellphone video of the events, or witnessed the vehicle, to contact them.