June 24th, 2024

Four year sentence for flight from police, firearms offences

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 23, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 38-year-old B.C. man who led southern Alberta RCMP on a high-speed chase has been sent to a federal penitentiary.

Ryan Joseph Holly was sentenced to four years in a federal prison after he pleaded guilty Thursday in Lethbridge provincial court to charges of flight from police, dangerous driving, driving while prohibited, unauthorized possession of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a prohibited device, possession of a loaded, restricted firearm, possession of a prohibited firearm, and drug possession.

On Nov. 8 of this year the Crowsnest Pass RCMP were on the lookout for a 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 that had been stolen in B.C. and was heading for Alberta along Highway 3. RCMP from the Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek and Piikani Nation spotted the truck and deployed a spike strip, but the truck continued to flee at high speed.

“The suspect had continued to refuse to stop for police despite multiple attempts to pull the vehicle over, and was driving at speeds over 140 km-h, passing vehicles with one tire down to the rim,” Crown Prosecutor Lauren Atkinson told court.

Holly, who is a suspended driver, was spotted again on Highway 3 north of Pincher Creek, where he jumped out of the moving vehicle, which then crashed into the ditch. Holly pulled out a loaded, .22-calibre handgun and held it to his head while threatening to shoot himself, but police convinced him to drop it. Holly then pulled out a knife, held it to his throat and told police to stay back or he would kill himself.

Police convinced him to drop the knife, as well, and arrested him.

“The handgun was found to have eight rounds in the magazine,” Atkinson added.

At the time of the incident, Holly, who also had a prohibited 10-round magazine for an AR-15-style rifle, was already subject to two lifetime firearm prohibitions. He also had about 1.5 grams of fentanyl and one gram of cocaine.

Atkinson pointed out Holly has a lengthy criminal record, which includes 10 convictions for driving while disqualified, three convictions for dangerous driving, and convictions for fleeing from police, robbery, and weapons offences.

“The fact that this will now be his 11th drive while disqualified, the Crown’s submission would say that Mr. Holly simply has not learned from the previous sentences,” Atkinson said.

Calgary lawyer John Oman said Holly has a “long-term” drug addiction and has previously spent a considerable amount of time in a federal penitentiary. He noted Holly was, before this incident, living in Victoria, B.C., and seemed to be turning his life around, until he returned to Alberta.

“He came back to Alberta at the request of one of his friends and, as he described it to me, took a drug and then basically went back into drug addiction mode,” Oman explained.

In addition to his prison term, Holly is also prohibited from possessing weapons for life and he must submit a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Data Bank. And despite Oman’s request for a one or two-year driving prohibition, Judge Sylvia Oishi said Holly’s actions warrant a longer prohibition.

“I feel five years is entirely appropriate given his driving record and the circumstances of this offence,” Oishi said.

Oishi gave Holly credit for time he spent in custody since his arrest, reducing his sentence by slightly more than two months.

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