July 28th, 2021

High-speed chase leads to time in jail for Taber-area man

By Delon Shurtz on May 20, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Taber-area man who led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen pickup truck will serve time in a federal penitentiary.
Bernhard Peters was sentenced to 26 months in prison after he pleaded guilty Wednesday in Lethbridge provincial court to charges of possession of stolen property, theft of a motor vehicle, flight from police, driving while prohibited, dangerous driving, and failure to comply with release conditions.
On Jan. 12 of last year Peters had spent the night at his girlfriend’s father’s home, but when the homeowner left the following morning he noticed his car was not in the driveway. His daughter, who normally drives the car, said she never gave anyone permission to drive it, and the keys should be in her bedroom.
At about noon a motorist flagged down an RCMP officer and directed him to suspicious activity at the Therapeutic Riding Association. The officer saw Peters trying to get gas for the stolen car from an above-ground tank, and arrested him.
In March of this year, Peters was on release conditions to not be in a motor vehicle without the owner, and to live in Barnwell under 24-hour house arrest. However, on March 13 Peters moved into his aunt’s residence in Taber, and even though she did not invite him, she didn’t object.
She drove Peters to Medicine Hat on March 18 for a court appearance and they returned home around 1 p.m. Peter’s aunt went to her bedroom to lie down, and about 30 minutes later received a phone call from another nephew who said he saw Peters driving her pickup truck. She looked outside, noticed her truck was missing, and called police.
Less than an hour later police saw Peters driving along 50 Avenue in Taber and activated the vehicle’s emergency lights and siren but Peters sped away.
“A pursuit was initiated, and at times Mr. Peters’ vehicle reached speeds of 145 km-h,” Crown Prosecutor Michael Fox told court.
Police stopped chasing Peters when he drove toward a residential area and school, but they saw him accelerate through a playground and school zone, and blow through a stop sign.
The following day Peters called his aunt and apologized for stealing her truck, and he was arrested by RCMP on farm property near Vauxhall.
Fox pointed out Peters has a lengthy criminal record, which includes six convictions for motor vehicle thefts, four convictions for driving while prohibited and three convictions for fleeing from police.
Lethbridge lawyer Tracy Hembroff said Peters is addicted to opioids and suffers from mental health issues, including depression.
Peters, who appeared in court by CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, apologized and said he hopes to straighten out his life.
“I’ve been dealing with this drug addiction for 10 years,” he said. “I have never tried treatment; I’m gonna try treatment when I get released on parole.”
In addition to his prison sentence, Peters is also prohibited from driving for three years.
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