Praised for saving kids

UPDATE: 2:35 p.m.

A Kelowna mother is praising a police officer for saving her young daughter, along with several other children, after stopping a fleeing man from driving into them Tuesday.

Joleen, a resident of Columbus Place, was outside with her 11-year-old daughter and four other children when police attempted to arrest a wanted man.

John Aronson was in the passenger seat of a silver Ford Taurus in the complex when police, who had been staking out the residence, moved in to make the arrest.

When Arsonson saw police, he jumped into the driver's seat and tried to flee.

“He decided obviously to take off, but the kids were standing right there,” Joleen said. “He didn't even care, I heard it, he punched on the gas.”

Joleen says one of the arresting officers jumped into the driver's seat and pulled on the wheel, steering the car into a tree, rather than into the children. She says the officer was cut during the altercation.

“I really appreciate the police officer who was quick thinking enough to do that because my daughter wouldn't be here today,” she said.

Joleen says many children live in the complex, and she's surprised there weren't more kids outside during the incident.

Police said they had been made aware that Aronson was living at the complex prior to his arrest. Joleen says she was told by police that he had been staying with his girlfriend, who lives in one of the units.

“I'm grateful my daughter's alive today and at the same time I'm pissed off,” she said. 

She says the girlfriend was taken into custody Tuesday, but is now back at the complex.

Aronson is facing five charges from Tuesday's failed flight attempt, in addition to 10 charges he's facing stemming from a violent home invasion in West Kelowna in September. He had just been released on bail for those charges on March 14.

ORIGINAL: 11:30 a.m.

The man who quickly drove into a tree while attempting to run from police in Kelowna Tuesday faces 10 charges stemming from a September break and enter. And his antics Tuesday have netted him five more.

Police staked out the Columbus Place housing complex on Parkview Crescent after learning John Aronson, a man wanted on several outstanding charges, was staying there.

When Aronson arrived, police attempted to make an arrest, but Aronson tried to flee in a vehicle. He didn't make it far, smashing into a tree, and was quickly arrested. Aronson, along with one of the arresting officers, suffered minor injuries.

The 29-year-old is facing charges of break and enter, multiple assaults, uttering threats and several firearm-related charges in connection with an afternoon home invasion on the 3000 block of Ensign Way in West Kelowna on Sept. 23.

Police said a woman was assaulted and several gunshots were fired during the targeted incident. At the time, police said Aronson had a history of violence and “should be considered dangerous.”

He remained on the lam until Oct. 12, when police found him in Rutland near Moyer Road and Friesen Drive and arrested him with the help of the police dog service.

After several months behind bars, Aronson was granted bail on March 14, despite objections from the Crown. He quickly stopped attending his court dates, leading to another warrant and his arrest on Tuesday.

Aronson made a brief court appearance Wednesday morning. Due to his flight attempt Tuesday, he now faces additional charges of assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, driving while prohibited and dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm. He will next appear in court on these charges on April 26.

Aronson has a lengthy criminal history, involving multiple flight from police and resisting arrest convictions.

On Nov. 23, 2017, he pleaded guilty to several unrelated charges, including being unlawfully at large in August 2016, resisting arrest and dangerous operation of a vehicle in July 2017, flight from police and resisting arrest in August 2017 and being unlawfully at large in September 2017. His sentences ranged from eight to 21 days in jail.

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