Driver receives 7 charges

Keely Dakin
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A Weldon man has been charged with seven different counts relating to the three-car collision that killed a 30-year-old Prince Albert woman and injured his passenger on Wednesday night.

The damage done to the car of the young woman, who lost her life in the three-car collision on Wednesday night, is extensive. The Honda lays in the wrecking yard outside of the Prince Albert Police Service Station, a stark reminder of the damage that can be done when vehicles collide.

“He’s been charged with several criminal offences,” said Sgt. Kelly McLean with the Prince Albert Police Service.

The resident of Weldon is being charged with seven separate offences including impaired driving causing death and bodily harm, dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm, fail to stop for police causing death and bodily harm as well as one charge of breaching a conditional sentence order with the RCMP.

The driver’s first court appearance was Friday morning at the Provincial Court and he was remanded to appear again in court on Monday at 10 a.m.

Both the driver and his, still officially unnamed passenger, are known to the RCMP.

On Friday morning during a press conference McLean went over the events, which led to the collision on Wednesday night.

Police received a call about a possibly impaired driver.

“The caller described the vehicle and its dangerous driving actions,” McLean said.

“The first car arriving on the scene was a police car traveling eastbound in the 800 block of 15th Street East. We met the westbound suspect vehicle, which was already traveling at a high rate of speed -- recklessly, “ McLean said.

By the time the police vehicle had turned around and was following the vehicle – a four-door Sedan - it had already turned south up Sixth Avenue East.

“It was accelerating away at a high rate of speed,” he said.

At that time a secondary police vehicle approached the area near the 500 block of 15th Street East and saw the Sedan pick up speed along Sixth Avenue East.

“(It) attempted to catch up and conduct a vehicle stop,” McLean said.

It was at that time that lights and sirens were engaged on both police vehicles as they attempted to stop the vehicle.

McLean said that lights and sirens are used not only to pull over the suspect vehicle but to warn the surrounding public of possible danger.

“The suspect vehicle proceeded southbound and in a matter of seconds the collision occurred at 28th Street. Police were several blocks away at the time of impact,” he said.

“It was not a criminal pursuit in the traditional sense,” he said.

He quoted their policy regarding police pursuits.

“Criminal pursuit is justified only when the benefit of immediate apprehension outweighs the level of danger created by the pursuit,” he said.

However in this case, McLean said there was not enough time for a pursuit to be declared as necessary by the officers, before the collision occurred.

“This collision -- I’m not gonna call it an accident -- this collision occurred literally seconds after police even viewed this vehicle and we were literally blocks away at the time of collision,” he said.

McLean said that he feels the police performed as well as they could. This case will be reviewed internally as is normal with all serious incidents, however he says that at this point the see no need for external review.

The name of the man charged is Craig Curtis Kopichanski.

Organizations: RCMP, Prince Albert Police Service

Geographic location: Weldon, 15th Street East, Sixth Avenue 28th Street

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