October 19th, 2017

Fleeing driver charged in death of teen


By Jensen, Randy on September 13, 2017.

Peggy Revell

SOUTHERN ALBERTA NEWSPAPERS -MEDICINE HAT

A 25-year-old Medicine Hat man has been charged with dangerous driving causing death following multiple collisions in Crescent Heights Monday afternoon that left an 18-year-old girl dead.

“Our hearts go out to the family, it’s on our minds,” said Insp. Joe West on the death of the young Medicine Hat woman, whose name police are not yet releasing. Family has been notified.

Cody David Michell made a brief in-person appearance before the Medicine Hat court Tuesday morning, with duty counsel stating Michell will be applying to Legal Aid, and will not yet seek bail. The Crown is opposed to Michell’s release.

Michell’s next court appearance is Sept. 26.

His arrest follows a string of collisions police say began with the theft of a pickup truck and attached utility trailer belonging to a commercial lawn care business.

The theft occurred just after 1 p.m. Monday from Bassett Crescent. The driver fled the scene, reportedly reaching a speed of close to 100 km/h, and at the intersection of 12 Street NE and Division Avenue collided with a mini-van, flipping that vehicle and causing a collision with another. The two people in the van suffered minor injuries, West said.

The driver then fled that scene in the stolen truck and continued down 12 Street at an extreme speed.

Upon reaching Parkview Drive, the truck, still travelling at a high rate of speed, struck a Toyota Camry in the intersection. The 18-year-old female driver of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene.

The male suspect did sustain some minor injuries from the collision, said West, and was taken to hospital for treatment.

During treatment, “he made a focused and purposeful attempt to pull the officer’s pistol from the holster,” said West, although the officer, with assistance from other medical staff, was able to restrain him.

The officer was never disarmed, said West, explaining holsters have retention mechanisms so pistols are not easy to get out unless trained – although it’s not impossible.

“We do train for that, in our controlled tactics training.”

Impairment is part of the investigation, said West, however, investigating this is “a lot more complex” than a normal alcohol-impaired investigation.

“We’ve gathered enough evidence to lay the charges obviously, as for the motive, I can’t speak to that at this point,” said West. The initial theft of the pickup truck does seem like it was a crime of opportunity, he said.

Police are interviewing a number of witnesses.

Alongside the dangerous driving causing death charge, Michell faces charges of failure to stop at the scene of an accident, possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and attempting to disarm a police officer.

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