Driver ‘thought he was God’

The chase ended just south of the Olds overpass when another spike belt disabled the vehicle and it rolled several times.


Advocate staff

A driver who slammed into an RCMP officer thought he was God and anyone getting in his way needed punishing, a Red Deer court heard on Tuesday.

Valerie Puttick testified she was in a vehicle with Kenneth Thomas Janzen on July 30, 2008, when it struck and seriously injured an Innisfail RCMP officer who was on foot at the time.

Janzen, 25, was committed to stand trial in Court of Queen’s Bench on 14 charges. A trial date could be set on May 4.

Puttick, who has lived with Janzen for more than nine years, told Judge Thomas Schollie that Janzen had been acting “weirder and weirder” in the two days leading up to the incident. They had travelled from Prince Albert, Sask.

“He thought he was God and controlling everything,” Puttick said crying. “He said the police were messing with God.

“He said that people who mess with God have to pay. He was saying that for days before.”

Although it was a preliminary hearing to determine if there was enough evidence to warrant the accused stand trial in Queen’s Bench, neither Crown prosecutor Jason Snider nor defence lawyer Lorne Goddard asked for a publication ban on evidence.

Puttick testified that Janzen suffered head injuries about a week before they left Prince Albert during a fight with his brother Jordan.

She said the pair fought first in their house, then outside in the street, where Jordan smashed his brother’s head into the road several times.

“Kenny woke up the next day and was talking funny,” Puttick said.

She said he argued with his reflection in the mirror.

Police came later in the morning after a noise complaint and took Janzen to hospital, where he was examined and released after several hours.

However, Janzen was still acting peculiar and went to the hospital again.

“He told me he was fine,” Puttick said. “Every time he opened his mouth he had something strange to say. It just got worse and worse.”

Janzen refused to go to hospital a third time.

The accused suggested they drop their three children off with relatives and head to British Columbia to get married.

They ended up near Red Deer, across Hwy 2 from the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

Puttick testified that Janzen was staring at a cloud formation and said God was coming to him.

She said he hadn’t slept for 48 hours at this point.

“He told me he had been waiting for all his life to meet me and he wanted to fix me up because I was a lost soul,” Puttick said.

Puttick said Janzen got out of the car and was running in and out of traffic, attempting to stop vehicles to help him pick up garbage.

A RCMP cruiser pulled up and when the officer attempted to talk to Janzen, he jumped into his vehicle and took off, Puttick said.

As many as six cruisers chased them south, Puttick said.

Puttick said she tried talking to Janzen but his responses didn’t make sense.

She said she was so afraid, she crouched down in the front seat, only peeking at what was happening.

She recalled once looking at the speedometer, which showed about 140 km/h.

She noticed a spike belt had been deployed and then Janzen swerving left to avoid the belt and slamming into Const. Danny Knight.

The officer flew up and crashed into the windshield while Janzen drove off. Knight suffered a severely broken leg and a cut to his head.

That incident occurred around Antler Hill, about four km north of Innisfail.

The chase ended just south of the Olds overpass when another spike belt disabled the vehicle and it rolled several times.

A charge of unlawful confinement was withdrawn by Snider after Puttick testified she wasn’t held against her will.

The trial had been set for three days but Puttick was the only witness called.

Janzen has been in custody and undergoing psychiatric testing for some period of his confinement. The testing was performed to determine if he was fit to stand trial.

Goddard said outside court he has yet to determine if an application will be made to have his client declared not criminally responsible by reason of a medical disorder.

Janzen is charged with three counts of attempted murder, and single counts of criminal flight from police causing bodily harm, failure to stop at the scene of an accident, hit and run, obstructing police, dangerous operation of a vehicle, criminal negligence, two counts of attempted assault with a weapon and two counts of evading police.

Authorities allege two other officers involved in the pursuit were also intended victims.

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