A Blackfalds man who fled from police in a stolen pickup, hitting speeds above 180 km/h, was sentenced to nine months in jail on Wednesday.
Christopher Francis Quebec, 34, pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property over $5,000 and dangerous driving in Red Deer provincial court.
Crown prosecutor Murray McPherson said shortly after midnight on Wednesday an Alberta sheriff saw that the licence plate light was out on the truck and followed it on Hwy 2 near Penhold. A licence plate check showed the truck had been reported stolen in April.
The sheriff activated his roof lights and Quebec sped off, turning east on Hwy 42 towards Pine Lake.
By then, an Innisfail RCMP Integrated Traffic Unit cruiser had begun following the pickup, which accelerated to speeds over 180 km/h on Hwy 42, which has a posted speed limit of 100 km/h.
The police officer stopped the pursuit for safety reasons but continued to follow the pickup, which was found a short while later near Township Road 271. The truck appeared to have bogged down in mud in a farmer’s field.
A woman standing at the roadside told police the driver had run.
A dog team was called in and Quebec was found a short distance away. He had inexplicably stripped down to his underwear. A small amount of crack and a crack pipe were found at the scene.
In a joint submission, the Crown and a Legal Aid Society lawyer representing Quebec recommended a sentence of nine months and a 15-month driving prohibition.
Provincial court Judge John Holmes agreed and sentenced Quebec to nine months on the two charges to be served at the same time.
Quebec apologized to the judge, saying he should have stopped for police but was worried about having drugs on him.
“I’ve never been convicted of a drug offence,” said Quebec. “I was very, very afraid of being caught with drugs.”
Quebec asked the judge to let him serve his time in a prison in Lethbridge, so his mother, who lives there, could visit him in jail.
Holmes agreed to make that recommendation.
The Crown withdrew several other charges.