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  |  Posted: Saturday, Dec 28, 2013 06:00 am

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Man avoids jail after wild chase

A young father is out almost $2,000 for his role in a wild police chase – one so wild that it was like something from The Benny Hill Show.

Victor C. Turnbull, 20, pleaded guilty to one count each of possession of stolen property and breaching a condition of his probation Monday in St. Albert Provincial Court.

Turnbull was the wheelman in a chaotic police chase last June that involved a stolen car, a helicopter and at least four people. Defence counsel Kent Teskey described it as a “Benny Hill” situation (referring to the 1960s-era show of that name, which was known for comedic chase sequences).

It all happened on June 26, 2013, at about 2:14 a.m. provincial Crown prosecutor John Donahoe told the court. Police had been called to Eastgate Way on reports of a suspicious vehicle and two suspicious individuals roaming the area. When police arrived, they spotted an SUV slowly driving away.

The SUV pulled a doughnut in the street, Donahoe said, fled down Embassy Place and turned onto a pedestrian pathway. RCMP later located the abandoned SUV and learned it had been reported stolen. They called in Edmonton’s Air-1 helicopter for backup.

Acting on a tip from a cab driver on Coal Mine Road, police intercepted a white truck, the back seat of which contained Turnbull and a female suspect. Investigation revealed that two other suspects were hiding in a nearby field and that Turnbull had been the driver of the SUV. Turnbull was also on probation and out past his court-ordered curfew.

Turnbull has a Grade 9 education and an antisocial lifestyle, Teskey said, but also has a one-year-old daughter. He has a job with a drywall company and wanted to clean up his life.

Turnbull could easily be jailed on these matters, Donahoe said, especially given his related youth record, but the case was so chaotic that it was tough to prove he was the driver.

Turnbull’s driving pattern was particularly aggravating in this case, said Judge Bruce Garriock.

“It could have ended up with many more problems, and it was certainly a danger to the public.”

Garriock fined Turnbull a total of $1,950 (victim’s fine surcharge included), and placed him on 12 months of probation, during which he was to follow a curfew and perform 50 hours of community service.

Walmart special

A local mechanic will spend more than a month in jail for trying to steal from the St. Albert Walmart.

Gerald A. Weismantel pleaded guilty to the charges of theft under $5,000 and breach of probation Monday in St. Albert court.

Weismantel and another man had tried to steal a pair of work boots, five DVDs, and a security camera system worth $624.09 from the St. Albert Walmart last April 7. The other man fled the scene in a truck with the goods. Weismantel and the other man were arrested and the stolen goods recovered.

Weismantel had also violated his probation by not reporting to his probation officer and not attending addictions counselling as ordered.

The court heard that Weismantel, 46, is an unmarried mechanic with two adult children.

Garriock sentenced Weismantel to a net 42 days in jail and ordered him to pay a $100 victim’s fine surcharge.


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