Driver involved in pursuit sought by police in connection to Muskoka Lakes fire
OPP are looking to speak with a driver involved in a high speed pursuit in Oro-Medonte after a house fire in Muskoka Lakes.
Emergency crews were called to 1101 Baldwin Rd. on Tuesday, around 12:30 a.m. for a house fire. When firefighters with the Muskoka Lakes Fire Department arrived, they found the home engulfed in flames.
“There were no walls left, the roof was already into the basement,” says Deputy Chief Harry Baranik. “We have no indication whether people were inside or not."
Bracebridge OPP was contacted a short time later and is now investigating the fire.
Investigators are looking to speak with the driver of a silver Dodge Ram pickup truck that they say was involved in a suspect apprehension pursuit on Highway 11 with Barrie OPP.
According to police, officers noticed the pickup driving unusually slow along the highway near Line 11, around 1:38 a.m. Police say they activated their emergency lights and attempted to stop the pickup, but the driver ignored them.
OPP say the pickup exited Highway 11, west onto 15/16 Side Road. The pursuit continued for a short time more, before the vehicle got back on the highway at Line 2. Officers followed, but cancelled the pursuit at Highway 11 and the County Road 93 overpass because of dangerously high speeds.
The driver has not been seen since, but police have determined the vehicle was registered to Thomas Lustvee, 58, of Muskoka Lakes Township. The mailbox at the house that burned down has the same name on it. Neighbours tell CTV News a man named Tom lived here alone, but did not know him well at all.
Lustvee’s son says his dad has been ill for some time.
“He goes between being completely normal when he’s not on his medication, but he’s a cripple, he can’t move and he’s pain, but very mentally alert, to when he has mobility but he loses his mental focus and becomes manic,” says Benjamin Thomas Burke Lustvee.
The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office was at the scene on Tuesday. Excavators have been brought in to help sift through the debris.
Anyone with information about the fire or the driver of the pickup truck is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.