A Christmas crime spree — which included a police chase and crash — has landed a car thief in jail.
“You certainly contributed to some people having kind of a miserable Christmas this year,” Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta told the offender, Kyle Aaron Olson, as he was sentenced on Monday.
Olson was released from jail on Dec. 22 after serving time for a host of previous charges that included auto theft, driving while prohibited, failing to abide by probation and dangerous driving.
Two days later — shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve — Olson’s ex-girlfriend called police after he’d paid her a visit at her Gladstone home.
Olson was intoxicated and “driving like an idiot,” the ex said, and he was in a van that she believed to be stolen.
The van had, in fact, been stolen from a church parking lot in Austin earlier that day.
Police spotted the van on Highway 16 and followed as Olson steered it into Neepawa.
After running a stop sign, Olson led police on a high-speed chase through the town’s snowy and icy streets.
He passed through five intersections, without stopping for anyone who had right-of-way and police called off the dangerous chase.
A short time later, however, they came across the van, which Olson had crashed into a tree before he stole a nearby pickup truck and fled town.
Mounties picked up the trail about an hour later. It was now early Christmas morning and Brandon RCMP received a complaint from a man in the RM of Elton who was following a suspect who’d just tried to steal gas from his property.
The suspect was Olson, who was still driving the stolen truck even though its hood kept flying up in front of the windshield, making it tough to drive.
The truck crashed and got stuck.
Again Olson ran, but was caught when a nearby resident approached police to tell them that a “hitchhiker” had knocked on his door seeking shelter from the cold.
Police went to the home to find Olson sitting at the kitchen table.
Crown attorney Grant Hughes said Olson was unapologetic when he spoke to police and jail staff.
He predicted that he’d only get four months in jail and didn’t seem sorry when asked why he would steal on Christmas Day.
“He said that he’d already had Christmas dinner on the 23rd and didn’t care about anyone else,” Hughes told court.
Olson, 22, pleaded guilty to seven charges — attempted theft of gas, driving while disqualified, breach of probation, car theft, dangerous driving, flight from police and possession of the stolen van.
Hewitt-Michta sentenced him to a total of 12 months in jail minus 28 days in custody. That will be followed by 18 months probation.
In addition, he’s banned from driving for four years.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 22, 2013