Man dives into Skinners Pond to escape police

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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.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: SUMMERSIDE

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Recent comments

  • Wait a second
    February 01, 2013 - 11:49

    Do the police have anything better to do? Would he have resisted arrest if the the police wouldn't have tried to arrest him? No. So where was the crime here besides wrongful detainment? He was driving an off-road vehicle fast while off-road.......isn't that the point? Last time I looked, "along side the wharf" doesn't have a maximum posted speed limit. Meanwhile someone somewhere has been robbed, but our police force is too busy chasing someone from one end of the wharf to the other like a damn Benny Hill movie. All I ever see on here is people rallying for the imprisonment of others, but why? The police created a conflict here, it does not state they were called to the scene, or that there was a complaint or disturbance, but that he was "spotted". The police then **attempted** to detain him. Police can detain a person on suspicion of a crime about to be committed, and arrest a person if they have probable cause that a crime is about to be committed, or was already committed. So what was the crime? Resisting arrest.....funny how there was no charges laid regarding the driving of the atv too fast because they have no proof(radar) or suspicion of an actual crime being committed. Time for Lantz to start throwing out cases like this that are delaying our right to speedy trial, and set a precedent for the police to bring to court cases that are worth the time speaking of...unlike this.

  • john h bernard
    February 01, 2013 - 06:38


  • Sarah K
    January 31, 2013 - 22:41

    5 DAYS!?!?!??!!! Are you kidding me? Steven has been in and out of jail for years... which means he has a lengthy record. He resisted to the point that an officer had to hit him with a baton, so it obviously wasn't minor. If seasoned criminals are getting ridiculously slack sentences, how do we, as a town and/or province, deter rookie criminals from becoming seasoned criminals? Doesn't make any sense. Time for Lantz to grow a set.