45 days in jail for driver involved in Gaetz Avenue crash

A 23-year-old Central Alberta driver who smacked into eight vehicles in Red Deer last week was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

A 23-year-old Central Alberta driver who smacked into eight vehicles in Red Deer last week was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

On Wednesday in Red Deer provincial court, Matthew Burton pleaded guilty to failing to remain at the scene of an accident, dangerous driving, possession of stolen property under $5,000, failing to keep the peace and follow probation orders, escaping lawful custody, driving an uninsured vehicle, and driving without a driver’s licence.

Others charges were withdrawn by the Crown.

Previously, police said that around 1:20 p.m. on April 4, a man in a pickup truck northbound on Gaetz Avenue veered off the road on 33rd Street, hitting vehicles parked on the street and others in the Cities Gastro Pub parking lot.

The driver fled on foot and was chased by restaurant customers, who lost him in nearby woods. Police caught the suspect a few minutes later in bushes near the Kinsmen shelter.

Crown prosecutor Tony Bell said Burton alleged he was suicidal and police took him to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. He then tried to escape police custody.

“I just don’t know what came over me that day,” said Burton, who appeared in court via closed-circuit television.

Judge John Holmes told Burton it appeared as if drugs or alcohol were factors.

“A little bit,” replied Burton.

Burton’s jail time was reduced eight days for time spent in custody. He also received an 18-month driving prohibition.

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