3 years for bridge chaos

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.

Ryan Regan was sentenced to three years in jail, Monday, following a police chase that closed down the William R. Bennett Bridge in January.

Judge C. Heinrichs said she wanted to send a strong message to society that this type of behaviour is not acceptable.

“He had the opportunity to stop the behaviour that had been occurring, but he chose not to. He continued and persisted to avoid the police and continued to put others at risk while continuing to drive the vehicle over Westbank and onto the bridge,” she said.

Regan’s lengthy history with police and criminal record for similar incidents was a concern for the court.

“Rehabilitation is something that in the long term does benefit the public, if through this sentence you can achieve your goal,” she said. “Society will be better for it.”

Regan will serve two years for operating a motor vehicle in a manner that was dangerous to the public, two years concurrently for failing to stop the vehicle while being in pursuit and one year concurrent for assault on a constable by using a vehicle as a weapon.

For the stolen vehicle on Jan. 5, Regan will serve 12 months consecutively, as it is a separate incident.

“This means you will not be in a provincial correction system,” said Heinrich. “There will be services available to you in federal correction system.”

Regan will also be prohibited from driving for three years and must provide a DNA sample.


ORIGINAL: 1:20 p.m.

A man who has pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to a guns-drawn police arrest that closed the William R. Bennett bridge will be sentenced this afternoon.

Both the Crown and defence read their arguments Monday morning.

Ryan Regan, 33 of Oliver, pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of vehicle, flight from police and assault with a weapon on Jan. 12., and also pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property in excess of $5,000 on Jan. 5.

“I can’t apologize more than to the people I put at risk that day, completely uncalled for, caused absolute mayhem on the public,” Regan told the court.

Regan and Michael Dennison, 25, were arrested after a police chase from Penticton to the bridge.

A green Oldsmobile drove onto the shoulder and accelerated quickly towards a road block set up in West Kelowna.

“The vehicle (was) ... weaving in and out of traffic, jumping curbs,” Crown counsel said. “Regan backed his car up forcefully into the front of a police car that was fully stopped, damaging it extensively.”

A citizen driving a semi on the bridge eventually blocked the suspect vehicle in.

Regan admits to being high on crystal meth during the incident.

“I don’t know where my head was at. The adrenalin was so high and I had no control over it,” Regan said.

The Crown is seeking a jail sentence of three years. Defence asked for two years.

The judge said she would have her decision by the end of the day.

Dennison, the co-accused, was given six months for dangerous driving, but after credit for time served, he will remain in jail for 75 more days. He was recently released from jail prior to January's incident, after serving 102 days for theft of a vehicle and dangerous operation of vehicle. He was on probation and a driving prohibition when he was arrested.

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