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Man charged with assault on police officers seeks trial by judge alone

The man alleged to have crashed a pickup truck into two police vehicles while trying to avoid a traffic stop has asked that his charges be heard in the Court of Queen’s Bench with a preliminary hearing first.

Zachary Finch, 22, formerly from Saskatoon, was arrested on May 11 by Blackfalds RCMP. Police allege that a pursuit began after a suspicious pickup truck sped away from a traffic stop on Hwy 2 at the Aspelund Road overpass, southwest of Blackfalds, at about 1 a.m. on May 11.

They say that the truck’s driver made several risky attempts to avoid capture, including driving across the median and smashing into police vehicles. A helicopter was called in to assist and a suspect was arrested after the fleeing pickup truck became mired in a swamp at the end of a dirt road, west of Lacombe.

Finch is charged with numerous offences in connection with the allegations, including two counts of assault with a weapon, flight from police, dangerous driving, two counts of breaching an undertaking and three counts of mischief.

Represented by defence counsel Kevin Sproule of Red Deer, Finch asked in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday for trial by judge alone in the Court of Queen’s Bench, with a preliminary hearing.

Preliminary hearings may be requested to test the strength of the Crown’s case. The suspect may be ordered to stand trial and some or all of the charges may be amended or withdrawn as a result of the hearing.

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