June 18th, 2024

Taxi theft and crash lands man 18-month jail term

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 2, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 35-year-old man who stole and then crashed a taxi driver’s car, has received an 18-month jail sentence.

Kyle Joseph English was sentenced Wednesday in Lethbridge provincial court where he pleaded guilty to charges of robbery and impaired driving.

Court was told a taxi driver had dropped off a fare on the southside at about 3 p.m. Oct. 26 of last year and was resetting his meter when English swung open the driver’s side door and attempted to get in.

“While attempting to enter into the vehicle, the accused began choking (the driver), and (the driver) was able get over the console between the driver’s side and passenger and exit through the passenger door,” explained Crown Prosecutor Dawn Janecke.

English locked the doors and took off in the car, heading north on 8 Street South toward 7 Avenue, but that’s as far as he got.

As English approached 7 Avenue, he struck two parked vehicles, then jumped out of the taxi cab and fled on foot with the taxi driver, who saw the collision, in hot pursuit. The driver caught up to English and held him on the ground until police arrived shortly afterward.

During the arrest police could tell English was intoxicated, and he later provided blood-alcohol readings well above the legal limit.

English also pleaded guilty to a charge of theft under $5,000 relating to an incident on Oct . 21, 2022, when a group of people entered a shoe store downtown and he stole a pair of shoes worth $220. He was later identified by video surveillance.

Lethbridge lawyer Marcus Mueller said his client has sustained several concussions over the years, the first from a serious car accident in 2005. He suffers from short-term memory loss, which is exacerbated by substance abuse and possibly fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, although he has never been diagnosed.

English, who has a lengthy criminal record, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the theft, in addition to the 18 months for robbery and impaired driving. He was, however, given credit for four months spent in pre-disposition custody, leaving a total sentence of 15 months.

He must submit a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Data Bank, and he is prohibited from possessing weapons for the rest of his life. He is also prohibited from driving for one year.

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