Okanagan man sentenced to 300 days jail after wild March chase

Jail for wild chase

An Okanagan man who is no stranger to car chases appeared in Penticton court Friday morning to learn his fate for his latest crimes.

Ryan Regan, who is in his mid-30s, will spend 31 more days in jail following his sentencing, after previously pleading guilty to theft of a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property over $5,000, flight from police, dangerous operation of a vehicle and driving while disqualified.

Judge Michelle Daneliuk handed down her sentence to Regan, who appeared by video call from the Okanagan Correctional Centre, outlining his lengthy criminal past that started back in 2002. He has 38 prior convictions, with 11 of them stemming from theft of vehicles.

Regan was sentenced to three years in jail on June 19, 2017, following a police chase that closed down the William R. Bennett Bridge in January of that year.

Regan and Michael Dennison were arrested at that time after a police chase from Penticton to the bridge.

The incidents before the court Friday followed an off-road police chase through the Penticton Indian Band hills on March 11, 2020, as RCMP responded to reports that a pickup truck had been stolen from a Granby Avenue residence.

The 15-minute pursuit by police led them off road while following Regan, where the the police vehicle's airbags were deployed when the officer hit a bush. The stolen vehicle was only stopped when the bush got too thick for it to drive through and Regan went off running on foot. After a 45 minute search by a police dog, he was apprehended.

He also pleaded guilty to breach of release order and driving while prohibited.

Judge Daneliuk stated that her decision was also based on the Crown prosecutor John Swanson submission in charges, asking for 8-12 months in jail, which was described as very low in terms of criminal past and current charges.

The clear separate incidents of driving while prohibited were cause for concern. The mitigating factors that helped Regan’s case involved the remorse expressed in his action, the prospect of rehab despite his criminal history and his motivation to change.

Another concern was for his health, as Regan had stated he suffers from multiple seizures every day, one of which forced a brief recess in proceedings Friday morning. Court resumed after Regan's lawyer, Nelson Selamaj confirmed Regan was able to proceed.

The sentence was 300 days for the multiple charges, with 269 days already served, leaving Regan to have 31 days left in jail. Regan was also given a probation order for 18 months, including a two year driving prohibition and a mandate to take medication as prescribed.

“Good luck Mr. Regan,” Daneliuk said.

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