The Alaskan man who blew through the U.S.-Canada border at Beaver Creek last year must really love his coffee.
Jason Echeverri, 29, played a key role in an incident at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre when 16 inmates refused to return to their cells as ordered. They were protesting the amount of coffee they received behind bars.
For his role in the incident, Echevarri was placed in solitary lockup for a number of weeks following the protest, but aside from that incident, the territorial court heard on Friday that Echevarri has been a co-operative inmate and is going to counselling.
Thankfully for Echeverri, he’ll only have to put up with the WCC’s bad java for another few days.
Judge Michael Cozens noted the incident during Echevarri’s sentencing for his running the border and ensuing police chase in October 2012.
Cozens gave Echeverri 330 days for dangerous driving and breaching the Canadian border, but also credited him 1.5 days for each day served, meaning Echeverri had only a week left to serve when the sentence was passed last Friday.
Echeverri had been living in Alaska and was on parole when he tried to cross through the border into Canada last fall.
He told border officials that he was headed through Canada on his way to the southern U.S., but given his criminal history he was refused entry into Canada.
Echeverri turned around and headed back to the U.S. side of the border, where he was arrested by U.S. officials. After a struggle, Echeverri escaped and blew through the Canadian border post at a “high rate of speed.”
He then led RCMP on a 264-kilometre chase south to Destruction Bay, though Judge Cozens noted that during most of that chase the road was empty. Echeverri was not within sight of RCMP and his speed remained around 130 to 160 kilometres per hour.
Outside of Destruction Bay, RCMP deployed a spike belt that destroyed the front tires of Echeverri’s vehicle, but he continued driving for another 16 kilometres before abandoning his car and fleeing on foot into the woods. RCMP tracked him through the forest for eight kilometres before he was arrested.
In reaching his decision, Cozens read through a weighty stack of case law relating to other police chases across the country, but few cases of any relevance. Most police chases, Cozens said, involved dangerous driving through crowded city streets and intersections, and often endangered many other motorists’ lives.
But Echeverri’s flight from justice endangered few lives aside from the risky escape through the border itself. Cozens even noted that when Echeverri passed two cars on the highway after blowing his tires on the spike belt, he pulled onto the shoulder to let them pass before continuing to run from police. Given how rare these kind of police chases are, Judge Cozens said he didn’t feel there was particular need to send a message with Echeverri’s sentence.
The Crown had been seeking a more serious sentence of up to four years.
While he will be finished his Canadian sentence shortly, Cozens assured the Crown that Echeverri will only be released into the custody of American officials, where he will stand trial for crimes committed in that country as part of his brazen rush for freedom.
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