— Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram
A man from Conception Bay South who stole an SUV and wrecked it in a crash after eluding police for an hour has been sentenced to 10 months in jail.
Tyler Michael Tristan Davis, 20, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of theft over $5,000, refusal to provide a breath sample, operation of a motor vehicle while disqualified, and two counts for failure to comply with probation orders.
Judge Gregory Brown said Davis’ decision to drive off with the vehicle from a gas station in C.B.S. was a cavalier action, adding he agreed with Crown prosecutor William Cadigan’s assessment that Davis was lucky to survive the crash near Holyrood.
Cadigan said the $30,000 vehicle was a write off for its owners, who fortunately were insured.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Davis stole a Dodge Journey SUV on Oct. 15 at approximately 12:30 p.m. while the owners paid for fuel inside a North Atlantic gas station on the Conception Bay Highway.
A clerk at the station — who Davis asked earlier if he could use the store phone to call his mother — saw him drive away in the vehicle.
A Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer spotted the vehicle a short while later on the highway, and another officer later saw the SUV travelling westbound on the Trans-Canada Highway.
An RCMP officer patrolling the Holyrood Access Road spotted the vehicle heading towards Route 60.
The officer turned around and soon discovered the SUV had crashed a short distance away in a wooded area. Davis could not be located.
At 1:45 p.m., another RCMP officer saw a male south of the crash site with cuts and bruises. The officer said, “Hi Tyler,” to which the man responded, “Hi.”
Davis was arrested and later taken to St. John’s. He refused multiple times to provide a breath sample.
Police reported there was a strong odor of alcohol permeating from Davis. Cases of beer were found inside the wrecked vehicle that the owners said had not been there prior to the crime.
Charges of impaired driving and possession of property obtained by crime were dropped.
One of the probation breach charges stemmed from an earlier incident on Oct. 3 when police were called to a home in C.B.S.
Speaking with The Telegram prior to sentencing, Davis’ grandmother Shirley Kavanagh said her grandson suffers from multiple mental illnesses and is required to take medication by a psychiatrist.
However, she said Dr. David Craig — the psychiatrist at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in
St. John’s — has denied Davis his medication since entering the penitentiary.
Duty counsel Jane Fitzpatrick also told the court that Davis’ grandparents told her the 20-year-old cannot handle alcohol like most people due to his aboriginal background. Davis is a status Indian from the Mi'kmaq community.
Davis apologized to the court on Tuesday.
“I realize what I’ve done, and it was stupid,” he said.
Brown gave Davis 16 days credit for time served in jail since his arrest, meaning he must now serve a further 284 days in prison.
He is also prohibited from driving for four years and must comply with the conditions of a probation order for two years after his release.
Brown placed conditions on his eventual release, but said he would not prohibit him from consuming alcohol.
While the judge recognized Davis should not drink, Brown said he would not want an addiction to land Davis in further legal trouble separate of other criminal allegations.