Kelowna man with dodgy driving record found guilty again | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna man with dodgy driving record found guilty again

Jon Michael Aronson
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March 09, 2021 - 1:50 PM

A Kelowna man with a proclivity for leading Mounties on dangerous high speed chases could see his already long stretch behind bars extended. 

John Michael Aronson was found guilty today, March 9, of flight from police, dangerous operation of a conveyance, driving while disqualified under the Criminal Code of Canada and breaching probation for a Sept. 23, 2019 incident where he sped away from Mounties and crashed into oncoming traffic, despite having his licence revoked and promising the court to behave better just hours earlier.

Aronson had a long set of excuses for the lapse in judgement. During his trial, he told the court he’d procured the vehicle he crashed the day he was released so he could sleep in it. He was going to park it outside his girlfriend’s house, in West Kelowna, and call it home. She’d been warned by the Ministry of Family and Children that custody of her children was at stake if he were to move into the house.

While he claimed, he hadn't expected to drive  that day plans for someone else to get behind the wheel fell through, so picked up the truck in Rutland and carefully made his way through the city, with his girlfriend driving close behind him to obscure the plate he’d taken from her vehicle and put onto his.

Eventually, he told the court, rush-hour conditions and the shoddy shape of the vehicle got the better of him.

As he crested the Bennett Bridge and rain started to pour, the steering was problematic, the brakes weren’t ideal and the windshield wipers went out. In turn, right around the point that he was merging into Highway 97 traffic, coming off the West Kelowna overpass, he increased his speed beyond 100 km/hour with the intention of getting to the mall so he could park the car, dodging and weaving through traffic, until he finally crashed into several vehicles near Boucherie Road.

All the while, he said, he was. unaware that the RCMP had started to pursue him, with lights flashing.

That didn’t resonate with Judge Clarke Burnett, who was weighing the evidence on whether Aronson was fleeing police, as the rest of the charges were clearly proven.

“A reasonably prudent driver travelling on a highway during the late afternoon rush hour, faced with the consequences of being unable to see out this windshield, coupled with the tire losing air and the unstable rear end would not choose to increase his speed and continue driving,” Burnett surmised.

“A reasonably prudent driver would recognize that doing so might inevitably lead to a collision with other vehicles on the highway. A reasonably prudent driver (would) pull the vehicle to the shoulder of the highway and stop. A choice to not only continue driving but to also increase one's speed on a multi-lane highway in rush hour traffic, without being able to see the road and the traffic on it would constitute a marked departure from the standard of care expected of motorists serious enough to attract criminal punishment.”

Aronson was taken into custody at the scene of the crash and hasn't been released since. That was 18 months ago.

While his defence said they were looking at time-served, Crown Counsel Dave Ruse indicated he was eyeing a federal sentence, which is more than two years. Aronson’s lawyer has requested a pre-sentence report.

Regardless, Aronson hasn’t had a lot of freedom in the last few years.

These recent charges were levied the day he was released from prison, where he’d been since January 2019, when he was shot by the RCMP Emergency Response Team members and taken down by police dogs in the aftermath of a road rage incident and another chase.

“Almost dying was an eye-opener for me,” Aronson, who uses the alias Johnny Blaze, said in court Sept. 23, 2019, as he has sentenced to time-served on the January 2019 charges including flight from police and dangerous driving.

“I want to be there for my children. I’ve got a different focus on my life. I’m sorry (for) what I did. You won’t see me back here again.”

That focus, however, was short-sighted. The matter returns to court April 8.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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