A man who caused havoc on Saskatoon streets last year while behind the wheel of a stolen truck was sentenced Wednesday in Saskatoon Provincial Court.
Timothy Gunn pleaded guilty to a wide variety of charges stemming from the June 24, 2014 incident. Through a prosecutor and defense joint submission on sentencing, he got three years in prison, minus one year for time served, two years probation, and is barred from driving for five years once he is out.
Gunn’s city-wide chase started at around 4:40 p.m. when police got reports of a jacked-up Dodge Ram driving erratically around Avenue I South and 19th Street West.
An officer briefly chased Gunn to 8th Street and Lorne Avenue before backing off over safety concerns. From there, Gunn backtracked towards the city’s core. He hit a vehicle on 20th Street West while swerving to avoid police spike strips.
Gunn kept going and rammed a police cruiser head-on in Avenue Q North, disabling the police vehicle. He then hit three more civilian cars.
Eventually, Gunn drove back to the area of Avenue Q where he had earlier taken out the police cruiser.
Several officers were on scene and one of them fired on Gunn as he drove towards him and a crowd of onlookers.
Finally, a police car rammed the truck Gunn was driving near Circle Drive and 11th Street West and stopped it. Gunn took off on foot and was arrested by a police canine unit.
The chase lasted about an hour. It left four police vehicles and three other cars damaged. One person suffered minor injuries.
The Crown told court that Gunn’s words upon his arrest were “Why do you guys take this stuff so seriously?”
After the Crown outlined the facts of the case, the defense was allowed to make submissions.
Gunn’s lawyer said by pleading guilty, and not disputing any of the facts presented by the Crown, his client had saved a large amount of court resources. If it had gone ahead, a trial would have involved over 20 witnesses and several days of court time. Gunn’s lawyer noted that this also saved the witnesses from having to relive the events.
Gunn’s lawyer then moved to his client’s Gladue factors which are parts of an aboriginal accused’s background that courts must consider during sentencing.
Gunn’s lawyer said his client could almost be described as “Gladue personified.” He then told court Gunn was the product of a dysfunctional home, with both parents having survived the residential school system. He said abuse and violence were regular features of Gunn’s childhood. His parents split up when he was 10 years old.
His lawyer said Gunn dropped out of school in Grade 7. Prior to that, he said Gunn’s race and extreme poverty made him a target of bullying by staff and students alike.
Gunn was abusing drugs and alcohol by the age of 12 or 13. Around that time, his father committed suicide and Gunn found the body. The experience caused him to leave his family. He was taken in by a street worker and didn’t reconnect with his family until he was 15.
The Crown and defense made a joint submission on sentencing, which was accepted by the judge.
Gunn has served just over a year in custody since his arrest. He was sentenced to another two years, followed by two years’ probation. Gunn will also be barred from driving for five years.
Given a chance to address the court, Gunn apologized to his victims and thanked both his lawyer and the Crown for the work they put in to his sentencing.