THUNDER BAY - A driver who was travelling nearly three times the posted speed limit in a residential area and collided with a house before fleeing the scene has pleaded guilty to two charges.
Counsel for Richard Bert Cramer, 39, appeared on his behalf before Justice Danalyn MacKinnon in a Thunder Bay Courtroom on Tuesday where a plea of guilty was entered to one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and one count of failing to stop at the scene of an accident.
According to an agreed statement of facts read into the court record, Cramer was travelling eastbound on Broadway Avenue the evening of Oct. 8, 2021 at approximately 11:30 p.m.
Travelling at a high rate of speed, Cramer failed to navigate a corner and crossed the centre line, sheering a hydro pole before colliding with a residence causing extensive damage.
A witness in the area reported seeing the driver of the vehicle leave the scene on foot before assisting an individual who was trapped inside the residence as a result of the collision.
An investigation by police determined the vehicle was travelling at 128 kilometres per hour. Broadway Avenue has a posted speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour.
It was also determined the driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.
On Oct. 9, police contacted a local company that the vehicle was registered under and later that day Cramer attended the Thunder Bay Police Service headquarters stating that he was the driver and lone occupant of the vehicle at the time of the collision and was driving at an excessive speed.
Police also located an open can of alcohol in the cupholder of the vehicle and several other sealed containers but no impaired driving charge was laid.
As part of a joint submission on behalf of the Crown and defense counsel, Cramer received a six-month conditional sentence order to be followed by 12 months of probation. He is also prohibited from driving for one year.
The six-month conditional sentence includes three months under house arrest with exceptions for employment, obtaining the necessities of life, and medical emergencies. The remaining three months, Cramer will be subject to a curfew from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Cramer will also be required to pay the balance of a $9,310 insurance claim to Synergy North for the destroyed hydro pole. The court also heard that police attempted numerous times to contact the owner of the house for an estimate on the cost of damages but were unable to reach the owner.
Justice McKinnon said she accepted the joint submission because Cramer came before the court with no previous criminal record and was experiencing a stressful time in his life at the time of the collision.
But she said everyone can be subject to difficult and stressful circumstances and must find ways to cope with such situations without resorting to reckless and dangerous behaviour.
“It was a very dangerous situation. Someone could have been killed easily with regard to the vehicle going into the house,” Justice MacKinnon said. “The Public needs to be protected from Mr. Cramer. The court has to be cognizant that that could happen again in the future. We are never free of having stressors appear in our lives. I do think the driving, the degree of damage, the speed, the threat to people’s lives, and even his own recklessness of not wearing a seatbelt is concerning to the court.”
During the 12-month probation period, Cramer will be required to attend counseling and is also required to pay a victim fine surcharge.