January 20th, 2021

Fatal crash suspect ordered to attend court

By Shurtz, Delon on June 6, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald


A Lethbridge man who is facing charges in connection with a fatal car collision last year has been ordered to attend court next week to confirm his whereabouts and speak to new charges.

During a hearing Friday in Lethbridge provincial court, Crown Prosecutor Michael Fox said the Crown has lost track of the accused, Wesley Brian Phillips, because he is not living at the residence at which he had previously been ordered to reside. Fox said one of Phillips’ previous bail conditions was to reside at the northside residence, but the owners had not been consulted beforehand and refused to let him live there.

Fox pointed out the accused was arrested in March following a disturbance at a city liquor store, but he was released by the bail office even though he didn’t have a place to live.

“We don’t know where he is, which is a concern for us,” Fox said.

However, Lethbridge lawyer Greg White told court he had talked with his client recently and emailed him earlier this week to tell him the judge would likely order him to attend court. That hearing, which will also address two new charges of failing to comply with release orders, is scheduled for next Friday.

Phillips, 36, is charged with failure or refusal to comply with a breath demand resulting from a collision causing death, impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death, and failure to comply with a probation order.

The charges stem from a collision about 7:15 p.m. Nov. 25, 2019 when a white VW Jetta westbound on Highway 3 collided with a red Ford Escape that was stopped at a stop sign on 51 Avenue in the town of Coalhurst where it intersects with the highway.

The 66-year-old female driver, the lone occupant of the Ford, died in the collision. The driver of the VW was taken to Chinook Regional Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Phillips was released from custody shortly after he was charged, then re-arrested in February on outstanding warrants from Airdrie where he faces charges of unlawfully being in a dwelling and failing to comply with a probation order. He was released again in March on $3,000 no-cash bail and ordered to keep the peace, reside at an approved residence, abstain from alcohol and drugs, not possess any weapons, and obey a nightly curfew.

The accused is also charged with mischief over $5,000, assault, failing to comply with previous release conditions, failing to comply with a probation order and uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.

Police reported that on March 20 a man entered a liquor store and asked to use the phone, but during the conversation he became upset, threw the phone, pushed over the store computer and knocked over displays of alcohol. Damage to the store was estimated between $5,000 and $10,000. A customer who heard the commotion and approached the subject was shoved several times. The man was also belligerent with the officers and threatened them during his arrest.

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seems like a great idea to release this law abiding and respectful citizen on bail. great to have him among us.