SUMMERSIDE - A 36-year-old man dove into Skinners Pond twice to avoid being arrested by police but ended up in custody the next day when he showed up at the West Prince Detachment of the RCMP charging police with assault.
Steven Earl Johnston of Skinners Pond was sentenced to five days in jail after pleading guilty in provincial court Thursday to resisting arrest July 7 at the Skinners Pond wharf.
The bizarre case began when police spotted a side-by-side ATV operating at a high rate of speed along the wharf. Police said the ATV was traveling so fast that the left tire left the ground when the driver made a turn. Police also reported that the driver was not wearing a helmet.
When police approached Johnston they said he seemed surprised to see them and said he was checking on his son and ran towards the edge of the wharf. The police pursued and Johnston dove into the water and swam to the other side where another individual driving an ATV met him.
An auxiliary officer stood by the side-by-side ATV while the other drove to the opposite side of Skinner’s Pond in search of Johnston.
While standing by the side-by-side ATV, the auxiliary constable saw a helmeted individual approach on another ATV, get off and mount the side-by-side vehicle. The officer attempted to detain the man and a scuffle ensued. At this point the second officer returned and the three men wrestled. One officer pulled out his baton and delivered blows to the man’s leg but that didn’t deter him.
In the struggle, the man’s helmet came off and the officer’s recognized him as the individual they had first encountered at the wharf.
Johnston broke free and again dove into the water to escape.
The next day Johnston went to the West Prince Detachment to file charges of assault against a police officer and was immediately arrested and charged.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Jeff Lantz described the case as “somewhat unusual to say the least” and that after escaping once, Johnston “had the audacity to come back again and try to get away with the ATV.”
Lantz said struggling with police officers is dangerous to both parties and that police have a hard enough time doing their jobs without having to deal with people resisting arrest.
In addition to the five-day jail term, Johnston was placed on probation for one year and ordered to write letters of apology to the two police officers.