MONTREAL - The man suspected of leading police on a chase through downtown streets and nearly striking a group of pedestrians appeared in court on Wednesday.

Samuel Tremblay faces an array of charges, including vehicle theft, dangerous driving, impaired driving, failing to stop for police and attempted armed assault.

He also violated a probation condition that prohibited him from consuming illegal drugs and drove a car when he was not allowed to do so, prosecutors alleged.

The defence requested a mental health expert's evaluation of the 19-year-old. He has a history of psychiatric problems, according to his mother, who spoke to reporters at the Montreal courthouse on Wednesday.

His bail hearing will take place on Thursday morning.

The consequences of a police chase down Rene-Levesque Blvd. on Wednesday could have been catastrophic had it not been for the quick actions of a bystander, police said. Tremblay allegedly refused to stop for officers. He tried to shake his pursuers by pulling a U-turn and even stopping long enough for officers to leave their car before speeding off again.

As the car, pursued by police, barrelled towards the intersection of St-Denis St. and Rene-Levesque Blvd. a group of 12 people were crossing.

Erick Marciano maneuvered his SUV in front of the car, taking the brunt of the impact and shielding the pedestrians, according to police.

“I could see what exactly was happening. He was driving really, really fast,” Marciano told CTV News on Wednesday.

“I decided to just put my car in his way to stop him. He went right through my car.”

The father of three estimates he had milliseconds to process what he was seeing.

“I don’t think I’m a hero. I did what I had to do. If I was put in that situation again, I would not hesitate to do it again.”

He says he managed to honk his horn and jump out of his vehicle “literally a second before he hit me.”

The force of the collision shattered the front bumpers of both cars. A third vehicle, a taxi, was also damaged. No pedestrians were injured.