Sentencing delayed for man who drove into Sturgeon County home after fleeing RCMP

·3 min read

A sentencing hearing for a man who pleaded guilty to driving into a Sturgeon County home has been delayed.

On Wednesday, Aug. 11, Bradley Furness, 38, was slated to be sentenced after pleading guilty in the incident that found him driving into a home and hiding in a wheat field, but a disagreement over the content of a pre-sentencing report delayed the sentencing.

Furness’s counsel Eric Crowther said there was “bias” in the report and it included “statements of fact that are inappropriate to include in the report.”

Crowther asked for parts of the report to be redacted, but it was decided that a hearing will be held so the Crown and defence can cross examine the report writer. The cross-examination will take place during what is known as a Gardiner hearing.

On Aug. 20, the Crown and defence will come back to court to choose a date to hold the hearing.

Furness pleaded guilty on April 30 to four charges after he fled from police and drove into house in Sturgeon County.

Furness pleaded guilty to flight from a peace officer; driving while prohibited; breach of a release order for being prohibited from being behind the wheel without the registered owner present; and breach of probation.

Furness originally faced eight charges after a police pursuit that saw him hit suspected speeds of 140 km/h. He sped past a school bus, lost control of the vehicle, landed in a ditch, and hit a house.

On April 30, Court of Queen's Bench in Edmonton heard, through an agreed statement of facts, a Sturgeon County homeowner found Furness at around 7 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2020, sleeping in a white Infiniti QX50. The vehicle didn’t belong to him, nor did the property on which he was found.

Furness woke and started to drive away. The homeowner then called Morinville RCMP and followed the car, which Furness drove erratically, court heard.

“The reporting citizen followed the suspect Infinity in his own vehicle and reported that the Infinity was being driven erratically, with the driver unable to maintain the centre lane while driving at high rates of speed, up to an estimated 140 km/h,” according to the agreed statement of facts.

Furness drove onto Highway 28 near Bon Accord at around 7:40 a.m. when Morinville RCMP arrived on the scene. Officers realized the vehicle was stolen. Furness was not aware it was stolen.

As RCMP attempted to pull Furness over, he sped off and passed other vehicles on the highway, including a school bus.

Furness tried to turn west on Highway 642 but lost control on the shoulder while passing other vehicles, stopped in traffic, drove into a ditch, and then a house.

At the time, police reported that the vehicle Furness was driving skidded between 180 and 280 metres.

RCMP said the collision woke the homeowners, whose home he crashed into, but they were not injured. There was significant damage to the side of their house and the vehicle Furness was driving. The collision also wiped out a gazebo and two trees.

Furness suffered neck and rib injuries at the time of the crash, but managed to exit the vehicle and run from authorities. Morinville RCMP, with the help of an RCMP helicopter, later found him in a wheat field.

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette

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