Brandon police and RCMP members congregate at the scene of a takedown after a stolen car hit the ditch on Highway 110 east of Brandon after a police pursuit in January. One of the two accused in the chase and related crime spree has received a three-year prison term.
A woman who led Brandon police on a car chase along one of the city’s busiest streets — forcing other motorists to swerve out of the way — has been sentenced to prison.
Laura Lee Dawn Palmer received a sentence of three years for the chase and a series of crimes that led to it.
"The driving was obviously outrageous here," Judge John Combs remarked during sentencing on Monday.
Palmer, 34, had pleaded guilty earlier this month to a total of 23 charges that spanned 20 months and stretched eastward from B.C. to Manitoba.
Court heard the following details as she entered her pleas.
Starting in April 2012, Palmer got caught when she pawned $7,000 worth of light and sound equipment that was stolen from a Lethbridge, Alta., garage.
She then tried to steal a minivan in Nanaimo, B.C., and took part in the theft of iPads and other electronics from stores in Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. That included the theft of 16 iPhones worth more than $10,000.
Palmer was released while pending on the above charges. It was a life of prostitution and drugs in Calgary that sparked a final cross-Prairie crime spree and chase that led to her arrest.
Facing threats from a pimp, Palmer and her long-time boyfriend, Anthony Paul Blais, fled Calgary.
Blais was the co-accused for the above offences and the ones described as follows. However, the accusations against him haven’t been proven in court as he still faces charges.
Starting this past New Year’s Day, a series of vehicles were stolen and abandoned, leaving a trail that began in Kathryn, Alta., and extended east into Manitoba.
In the morning of Jan. 2, a stolen SUV was rammed into a Sintaluta, Sask., store in an unsuccessful effort to break in.
Later that morning, RCMP chased a stolen pickup truck through Virden, which then reached 170 km/h as it sped east along the Trans-Canada Highway. Mounties called off the pursuit after the truck rammed two other vehicles.
Palmer was the driver of a car stolen from Oak Lake when she steered it into Brandon and city police chased it east along Victoria Avenue.
She avoided a stop stick, ran five red lights and reached 100 km/h between intersections, forcing several vehicles to swerve — and at least one pedestrian to jump — out of the way.
Along Victoria Avenue East, the car was going 120 km/h as Palmer jumped into the backseat and Blais slid into the driver’s seat to take the wheel.
The car then turned north onto Highway 110 and the chase ended when it rammed another vehicle and wound up in the ditch.
Palmer and Blais were arrested at the crash scene. No one was seriously injured during the chase.
Crown attorney Grant Hughes said the co-accused were using crack cocaine during their flight across Western Canada.
The offences Palmer pleaded guilty to included numerous counts of theft, and a count of flight from police.
On Monday, Combs sentenced her to a total of 36 months in prison for all her offences, minus eight and a half months pre-sentence custody, leaving 27 and a half months to serve.
She’ll be banned from driving for two years after her release.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 24, 2014