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A charge of assaulting a police officer has been laid against a northern Alberta man who is accused of using a machete to keep an RCMP officer at bay.

Two Mounties with the Athabasca detachment were on patrol near Calling Lake early Saturday morning when they spotted a man and a female companion out walking.

Both were wanted on outstanding warrants and the officers stopped and told them they were under arrest, but the pair fled and the officers chased them on foot toward some trees.

Police allege the man was close to being tackled when he swung the machete at one officer, who managed to avoid being struck and pushed the suspect to the ground.

The second officer then got into a fight with the man and got the weapon out of his hands.

Joel Houle-Auger, a 28-year-old Calling Lake resident, is facing other charges but has been released from custody on a promise to appear in Athabasca provincial court on Jan. 13.

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