By Trevor Busch
A local man involved in a police pursuit which ended with a stolen car colliding with a patrol vehicle has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years of incarceration.
In Taber provincial court on May 26, Bernhard G. Peters, 22, pled guilty to flight from a peace officer, assault with a weapon, possession of stolen property, failure to comply with conditions, breach of probation, assaulting a peace officer, uttering threats, and mischief.
Sentencing in the case was subsequently adjourned to Aug. 25 to allow for preparation of a pre-sentence report.
Further charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property, mischief, obstructing a peace officer, resisting a peace officer, and breaking and entering to commit theft were withdrawn by the Crown.
Crown prosecutor Michael Fox related the facts of the case to the court.
On Feb. 19, Peters and another male had stolen a BMW vehicle from the Lethbridge area, and a report was provided to the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP detachment in relation to the incident.
At approximately 8:30 p.m., a vehicle fitting the description provided to police and being operated by the accused was observed by Taber/Vauxhall RCMP, who attempted to initiate a traffic stop.
Peters failed to stop for police, and a pursuit of the vehicle was initiated on a secondary road in the detachment area.
According to Fox, during the pursuit speeds approached 125 kilometres per hour, and at one point Peters swerved at the pursuing patrol vehicle in an attempt to force the vehicle off the road.
Following this, Peters later slowed down and appeared to be preparing to stop for police, but then made a second attempt to force the patrol vehicle off the road, narrowly avoided by officers who reversed out of the path of the vehicle.
Finally, Peters made a third attempt to impact the pursuing SUV, which was intentionally struck “with considerable force” on the driver’s side, spinning the vehicle around, and rendering both incapable of further operation.
Video evidence of the incident was captured on the police vehicle’s camera, but was not reviewed in open court during sentencing.
Shortly after this incident, officers of the Taber Police Service arrived on the scene to assist, and a brief foot pursuit of Peters ensued which concluded with the him being taken into custody after hiding near a fenceline. Peters energetically resisted arrest, attempting to kick and head butt officers, later threatening to kill another, before being lodged in town cells.
Fox noted the accused employed loud and profane language throughout the course of his arrest.
While in custody, Peters then used his handcuffs to scratch and damage the interior of a cell. The accused was charged with a variety of offences.
At the time of the incident, the accused was also determined to have been in violation of a court-ordered curfew, and to have been consuming alcohol in breach of a probation order prohibiting him from the purchase, possession, or consumption of the substance.
Peters had been previously convicted of driving with a blood-alcohol level exceeding .08 milligrams per cent, taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, and causing a disturbance in 2012, criminal harassment and breach of conditions in 2013, and possession of a controlled substance, theft under $5,000, causing a disturbance, theft over $5,000 and two counts of possession of stolen property in 2014, and breach of conditions and failure to comply with a probation order in 2015.
Peters’ attorney, Scott Hatford, indicated that at the time of the incident the accused had been under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, which contributed to his lack of recollection of many details involving the incident in question.
When afforded an opportunity to address the court, Peters did express regret over his actions on Feb. 19.
“I’m just remorseful for my actions, and all of the people that I endangered.”
During Peters’ 30 month sentence, Judge LeGrandeur was careful to recommend that assessment, treatment and counselling be provided to the accused in the areas of substance abuse, anger management, and life skills, and that any opportunities for further education be made available.
Judge LeGrandeur ordered Peters to surrender a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Data Bank, and he will also be subject to a 10 year firearms prohibition. A $1,600 victim-fine surcharge was also issued.