An Okanagan judge did not like the proposed sentence for a woman who had meth, heroin and cocaine hidden inside her body when she took Penticton RCMP on an 18 minute chase and evaded three spike belts.
Judge Gregory Koturbash was presented the jointly proposed sentence by the Crown and the defence counsel for Bree-Anne Alicia Buhler. However, he said it needed further examining as he was “uncomfortable” with the 180 days, plus 30 days to be served consecutively that they were pitching. Also proposed is a one year driving prohibition and the same amount of time on probation.
“She had a full pharmacy on board in her vagina … all of this is clearly dangerous. This is over the top aggravating circumstances,” said Koturbash.
Buhler, 25, was spotted driving erratically around 1:45 p.m. on Nov.6, 2018 in a Ford truck stolen from Kaleden. She evaded RCMP spike belts near Westhills Road and on Forsyth Drive in the West Bench.
Police then set up another spike belt that she drove around before meeting a roadblock at Green Mountain Road and Westhills Road. She came to a stop before the area RCMP had set up a fourth spike belt and as an RCMP officer began walking towards her vehicle, instructing her to exit, she took off again. This time her front tire hit the spike belt and RCMP engaged the emergency lights on their vehicle as they followed her reaching speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour.
Crown counsel Ann Lerchs told the court that Buhler continued to drive, sometimes occupying the entire opposing lane, on a deflating tire. It finally completely disintegrated near Shingle Creek Road where RCMP arrested her.
Buhler was transported from the Penticton RCMP detachment where she began to vomit. She was taken to the hospital as she appeared to be overdosing. A CT scan showed several packages of drugs in her vagina including 1.63 grams of heroin, .95 grams of heroin, 1.54 grams of meth and 1.2 grams of meth and 1.32 grams of cocaine.
RCMP found a baggie and a scale on the front passenger seat of the stolen vehicle and 3.87 grams of heroin.
Koturbash commented that Buhler had been on probation at the time of the offences, which include flight from a peace officer, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, possession of stolen property and driving while prohibited. He has previously been outspoken in court about the growing number of flight from police officer offences that are coming before him.
“While I appreciate that perhaps we haven’t reached an epidemic problem with respect to police chases but they are becoming a lot more common. Evading the police, fleeing with drugs in your system, engaging in pursuits — all of which are extremely dangerous for our community,” said Koturbash.
He asked for case law to be presented to support Crown and defence submission and to meet with the trial co-ordinator on April 15 to fix a date to present it to him.
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