Woman gets probation for car theft

Stealing a car that sat idle at a gas station and then driving it around for four days landed a Red Deer woman 18 months of probation.

Stealing a car that sat idle at a gas station and then driving it around for four days landed a Red Deer woman 18 months of probation.

But Jessica Masyk, 25, still has a significant trial date ahead of her. In August, she faces charges surrounding the hit and run death of Trystan Sorensen, 18, on May 20, 2014, west of Penhold on Hwy 592.

On Monday in Red Deer provincial court, Masyk pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and two counts of breaching a recognizance.

As a result of the pleas, the Crown withdrew three possession of controlled substances charges, as well as one count of possession of stolen property under $5,000, being a party to a theft and being a party to a failing to appear.

Masyk was observed on June 12, 2014, in the passenger seat of a vehicle driven by Steven Lagace, 30, as it pulled into a gas station in Eckville. Shortly afterwards, a truck pulled into the gas station and the owner got out of the vehicle and went inside.

Masyk exited Lagace’s vehicle, got into the truck and drove it away. The incident was caught on the gas station’s surveillance cameras.

Over the next four days, Masyk was observed by police in the Penhold and Red Deer area behind the wheel of the truck stolen form Eckville. On June 16, Red Deer RCMP saw her behind the wheel and arrested her. At the time, the truck had a licence plate that did not match the registration. The plate was stolen in April.

Crown prosecutor Blair Brandon suggested a sentence of 30 days in jail, plus a probation term, as the crime was clearly more than a momentary lapse of judgment.

Masyk’s counsel Kaitlyn Perrin recommended a probation of 18 to 24 months, saying Masyk has demonstrated remorse and has already spent some time in jail. From Aug. 11 to Oct. 22, 2014, Masyk was held in custody on charges related to breaking into vehicles in Highland Green in Red Deer. Those charges were later withdrawn by the Crown.

Judge Bert Skinner said it was quite clear Masyk knew she was doing something wrong and sentenced her to 18 months of probation and a $1,500 fine.

Included in that probation is a no contact order with Lagace and encouragement to seek counselling. Brandon said controlled substances were an underlying factor in the crime, though the charges were withdrawn. Perrin agreed to both the counselling and abstinence clauses on the probation order.

Masyk goes to trial on Aug. 19 on charges including failing to remain on scene, driving while unauthorized and creating a false police report. Those charges were laid in relation to the May 20, 2014, hit-and-run death of Sorensen, who was on the side of the highway.

Lagace pleaded guilty to arson, possession of stolen vehicle, possession of a controlled substance and being unlawfully at large in September 2014. Lagace burned the vehicle that Masyk is alleged to have driven the night Sorensen was hit and killed.