Man sentenced to 20 months for wild winter police chase on Hwy 97C
20 MONTHS FOR WILD CHASE
A Kelowna man who led police on a wild chase on the Okanagan Connector last year has been sentenced to 20 months in prison and two years of probation.
Dean Peters, 45, was sentenced Thursday in Kelowna Supreme Court by Justice Trevor Armstrong, who accepted a joint submission, or plea deal, put before him earlier this week.
“He recognizes this is something of a last chance for him, and failure to turn his life around at this point may involve significant long term incarceration in federal institutions,” Armstrong said of Peters.
Peters pleaded guilty to counts of flight from police, possession of stolen property over $5,000, dangerous driving and assault police officer related to the chase on Nov. 16, 2019.
On that day, Peters led police on a chase from West Kelowna, up Highway 97C and onto logging roads in the winter and back down the highway into Peachland where he was finally forced off the road by pursuing officers.
Along the way he crashed into three police vehicles and one civilian SUV as well as forced several oncoming cars off the road to avoid a head-on collision. At the time he was on meth and without a driver’s license. A detailed account of the chase came out during the sentencing hearing on Monday.
Crown prosecutor Murray Kay acknowledged that the plea deal offered to Peters and endorsed by defence lawyer Michael Patterson was “generous,” but said significant credit must be given to Peters’ guilty plea that avoided a lengthy trial amid a pandemic.
The only part of the joint submission that saw any disagreement between Crown and defence was on a restitution order to help pay for the $34,000 in damage Peters caused to the police vehicles.
Justice Armstrong ruled that imposing an order for the full amount would negatively impact Peters likelihood of rehabilitation and would prevent him from catching up on $30,000 in child support he owes. The judge noted that the RCMP may bring civil action against Peters to recoup the funds, a process that offers more flexibility for repayment, so Armstrong limited the restitution to $5,000.
Court heard that Peters’ criminal activity has always been linked to a methamphetamine addiction, something he has made considerable progress fighting while incarcerated.
With credit for time already served, Peters has about 48 days left on his sentence.