Hit and run driver sentenced

After pleading guilty to operating a motor vehicle without a license and dangerous operation of the vehicle

After pleading guilty to operating a motor vehicle without a license and dangerous operation of the vehicle, an Ontario man has been sentenced to jail time with heavy fines.

On Dec. 11, 2009, RCMP was advised of a hit and run that took place in a Ponoka nightclub parking lot. Multiple people were hurt but there were no serious injuries.

Witnesses from the evening say Matthew Harvey, now 25, had been drinking that night and gotten into a fight before getting into his vehicle.

It was stated in court the witnesses saw Harvey swing his vehicle around in the parking lot; injuring people, before leaving the lot at a high speed and hitting others.

RCMP located Harvey at a Ponoka residence, where his vehicle was also found with damage consistent with the hit and run.

“I’m really sorry for the things that have happened,” Harvey told the court.

Harvey has a prior record relating to drug trafficking but no related charges and he has not been in trouble with the law for new offenses in five years.

Judge J. Glass gave Harvey close to $4,000 in fines for driving without insurance and failing to stop. “The aggravating (factor) is that this was a hit and run situation,” judge Glass said.

Harvey was also sentenced to 11 days of incarceration. Glass took into account his 11 days of pre-custody and he was given release by Ponoka provincial court on Sept. 12, the day of his sentencing.

Impaired Semi driver refused breath samples

An impaired driver of a tractor-trailer truck has been sentenced to a driving probation after refusing to provide breath samples to police alongside being fined for the offence.

Kartar Gill of Calgary was operating the truck on May 28, 2014, when RCMP received a complaint of the unit swerving between lanes.

According to a statement made by the Crown, a witness said Gill almost hit a pickup truck, drove 900 feet through a ditch and eventually stopped a roadside stop, where police caught up with him.

There was a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and in the truck.

When asked to provide breath samples, Gill claimed he did not understand, as he speaks broken English and his first language is Punjabi. A fluent speaker was brought in, yet he still refused.

The defense counsel told the court Gill suffers from neurological issues that could have played a factor in his driving. He’s currently not working and is a patient of the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary.

Judge Glass issued Gill a one-year driving probation and a $1,000 fine with a victim surcharge fine.

Suspended driver caught behind the wheel

A Morley man, charged with driving with a suspended license after being caught in the drivers seat, May 19, 2014 was sentenced to a long driving probation and 30 days of incarceration.

Ollie Benjamin, 47, had his license suspended March 17 of this year.

The Crown told the court RCMP stopped a vehicle travelling “crabwalk style” in May to learn the Benjamin was on his way to Maskwacis when the original driver of the vehicle turned ill and he took over.

A horse trainer who is involved in his grandchildren’s lives and those of the elders in Morley, Benjamin was given a three-year driving probation and 30 days of incarceration to be served intermittently at the Calgary Correctional Centre.

Dangerous motorcyclist

After being caught dangerously operating a motorcycle, a British Columbia man will not be driving anything with a motor for the next year.

Darren Traub, 41, of Cornell, B.C., has been given a one-year driving probation and $1,600 fine plus victim surcharge after being stopped by police on July 28, 2014, when he  was travelling up to 156 km per hour.

Traub also was not wearing a helmet, saying he forgot it at a rest stop, and alcohol could be smelled on his breath. He told police he had been drinking the night before but failed the breathalyzer test.

Defense counsel told the court before sentencing was passed that if Traub lost his license he could lose some or all of his job responsibilities with Cornell public works.

Highly intoxicated driver

A man who astounded Glass and other members of court with his ability to consume alcohol was fined $3,000 and given an 18-month driving probation after being caught with marijuana and open alcohol in his vehicle.

On May 30, 2014, RCMP received a complaint of an intoxicated driver on Baker Road.

There, Leron Cutarm, 43, was found with the smell of alcohol and cannabis in his vehicle.

Cutarm was unsteady on his feet and exhibited slurred speech. He blew a 0.33 and 0.32 at the detachment. At the time of the incident, Cutarm had a suspended license.

Counsel told the court Cutarm is from a family where both parents survived residential schools and he grew up without a stable environment.

Cutarm’s last offense was 12 years ago and he works on gas lines to keep himself busy and away from alcohol.