Driver who hit three cars, ran from police to be sentenced today

Rosie Mullaley
Published on January 28, 2014
Trevor Ralas Wheeler of St. John’s is led out of the courtroom in provincial court Monday following his sentencing hearing. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

A man whose erratic driving and dramatic takedown in the downtown area of the capital city last fall will find out today how long he’ll stay behind bars.

Trevor Ralas Wheeler will be sentenced today in provincial court in St. John’s.

Judge Colin Flynn opted to take a day to review the evidence of the case following a sentencing hearing Monday.

Wheeler, 28, pleaded guilty to nine charges, including seven from Oct. 15 — dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, evading police, assaulting a police officer, possessing property obtained by a crime and breaching court orders.

They were laid after an incident that started at 7:15 a.m. that day, when an RNC patrol officer spotted Wheeler in his wine-coloured Jeep making an illegal turn on Lake Avenue.

Wheeler would not pull over and, instead, sped up. The officer followed him onto Circular Road and then Rennie’s Mill Road.

Wheeler then drove over a median on Flavin Street, causing him to flatten his four tires and slide sideways towards Gower Street.

Along the way, Wheeler hit three cars. When he hit the third one on Gower Street, the Jeep came to a halt. With the driver’s side door stuck, Wheeler pushed his female passenger out of the way and ran.

The officer ran after him, catching up to him a few times, but each time, Wheeler managed to get away.

The officer used pepper spray at one point and his baton another time, but each time Wheeler still resisted and slipped away.

When the officer caught up to him near the Sir Humphrey Gilbert Building on Duckworth Street, Wheeler was fighting him off, kicking and clenching his fists.

The officer was struggling to keep Wheeler down.

That’s when a man in a dump truck saw what was happening, got out and helped the officer by holding Wheeler’s legs until backup officers arrived.

He’s been in custody ever since.

Wheeler also pleaded guilty to two charges from Oct. 10, 2013 — possessing a weapon dangerous to the public (a machete) and driving while disqualified. He was also ticketed for having no car insurance.

Those charges were laid after he was found asleep in his car with four knives, including a machete.

Crown prosecutor Danny Vavasour requested a sentence of 14-15 months, pointing to the dangers of Wheeler’s driving and Wheeler’s lengthy criminal record.

Defence lawyer Candace Summers said a sentence of 11-12 months was more appropriate.

When Wheeler was given the chance to speak, he apologized for what he did.

“I’m sorry for being a nuisance and a danger to the public,” he said. “I don’t know what I was thinking.

“But I’m done with this stuff. I’m getting too old for this.”

Twitter: @TelyCourt