Steven Wanamaker doesn’t remember much about his driving on Oct. 10, when he got into three collisions, but kept on driving, and then failed to stop even though Greater Sudbury Police officers were chasing him.
On Wednesday, Wanamaker, 33, who had no prior record, received a 20-day jail sentence to be served on weekends, a one-year licence suspension, one year probation and a $500 fine. The fine was for marijuana possession.
The probation order includes the conditions that Wanamaker not use or possess illegal drugs and that he take recommended counselling programs.
“I’m just happy nobody got hurt,” Wanamaker told Ontario Court Judge Normand Glaude.
“This looks like an isolated incident, except the facts are terrible,” commented the judge.
The Hanmer man had originally pleaded guilty to impaired driving, failing to stop for police and marijuana possession. The failing to stop for police charge was later changed to failing to remain at the scene of an accident, after details of what happened were read out in court with the Crown’s and defence lawyer Robert Beckett’s consent.
The court heard Wanamaker was driving a Chevrolet truck on Oct. 10 that grazed a Honda CRV on Bruce Avenue and kept going, heading to King Street.
He then struck a Chevrolet Impala near the Mac’s Milk exit, causing extensive damage.
Wanamaker kept driving, ending up on Regent Street near McLeod Street when he hit a light standard, drove north in the southbound lane and through a red light.
An eyewitness contacted Greater Sudbury Police about the third incident.
Wanamaker’s truck was later spotted on Kathleen Street near Frood Road and the police cruiser’s roof lights were activated. Wanamaker kept driving, repeatedly crossing the centreline into oncoming traffic, turning hard to the right curb, driving on the sidewalk for a distance and almost hitting a house.
Wanamaker drove 200-300 metres at speeds of up to 60 km/hour before finally stopping.
When Wanamaker got out of his truck, he had difficulty standing, and appeared dazed and confused while looking at the officers. He did not follow instructions to put his hands behind his head and get on the ground, but attempted to walk away.
He was then taken to the ground by the officers, but resisted arrest by placing his arms under his body. He was eventually overpowered and arrested.
A search of Wanamaker turned up two grams of marijuana in a grocery bag in his right sock and a prescription bottle that contained some tablets. The bottle belonged to his father.
When police technicians couldn’t properly take a breath sample, a urine sample was requested. It showed Wanamaker had taken non-prescribed drugs.
“On that night, the driving was fallacious (logically unsound), and I’m trying to be honest,” said Beckett. “My client has little or no recollection of these events. On the night in question, he had consumed drugs.”
The lawyer said Wanamaker is single, working in the mining field, and has been on the methadone program for a number of months as he tries to conquer a drug addiction.
Beckett added that the prescription bottle found on Wanamaker contained sleeping pills.
“Clearly, it’s just good luck nobody was injured in this,” said assistant Crown attorney Susan Bruce. “I see Mr. Wanamaker listening to the facts in shock by his own behaviour. It’s unfortunate he fell into a drug addiction. He is to be commended for getting assistance.”