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Driver sentenced to jail time for dragging officer

posted Jul 4, 2016, 9:53 AM by Kathy Carr

A frightening incident — in which an RCMP officer was dragged by a car as he was repeatedly punched in the face — has brought a prison sentence for the driver.
The Mountie’s colleague, Cpl. Jarrid St-Pierre, witnessed the constable being dragged.
"I felt an immense sickness in my stomach as I helplessly watched him being dragged by the vehicle," St-Pierre wrote in a victim impact statement presented in Brandon provincial court.
Crown attorney Deidre Badcock said Const. Matthew Demey was searching for a reported drunk driver on the morning of Jan. 20 when he came across a Pontiac Grand Am in the ditch at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 5.
While the car matched the description of the one reportedly driven by the drunk, the woman who had been driving the car pointed to the poor road conditions and said she had slipped into the ditch. Noting the bad weather, Demey abandoned the impaired driving investigation.
The driver was Caley Elizabeth Steele, 28, but she provided Demey with a false name, Michelle Kipling, and claimed she had driven a friend to Brandon and was on her way back to Winnipeg.
Her licence was expired, so when the tow truck driver needed someone to put the car in neutral, Demey was the one to do it. It was then that he noticed a backpack in the car and an open yellow box in which there appeared to be a pipe with methamphetamine and crack cocaine residue on it.
Demey arrested the woman and took her to the Carberry RCMP detachment, where she would be released on charges and a friend would pick her up.
In the backpack were documents for Caley Steele, but Steele (still posing as "Kipling") said the bag had belonged to the woman she’d dropped off and that she didn’t know any Caley Steele.
The suspect’s cellphone had died, so Demey supervised as she went to her car for the charger. The car was then turned on to allow the phone to charge, and the arrestee had a cigarette with her legs sticking out the car door.
Meanwhile, St-Pierre was running checks and came across a photo of Steele. It was clear that that was the woman they were dealing with and she’d provided a false name.
St-Pierre exited the detachment to signal Demey to bring the accused back inside.
At that point, Steele swung her legs into the car, put it into drive and hit the gas.
Demey, who had stood beside the car to block the door, grabbed Steele and was dragged by the vehicle for 10 metres across the parking lot.
"Stop, you’re going to kill me!" Demey said.
"F--k you, f--k you," Steele responded, punching Demey twice in the face with one hand as she tried to steer the car with the other.
Demey thought about letting go, but realized he would fall beneath the car if he did and tried to hold himself up against the vehicle, "half skiing" in the ice as the car crossed the road and hit snow on the other side.
Demey grabbed the wheel and forced the car into the ditch and tried to grab the keys from the ignition, but Steele kept punching the constable and scratching his face as she tried to drive out of the snow bank.
St-Pierre arrived on the passenger side of the car. He struck Steele twice in the face, which stunned her enough for Demey to get the car keys.
Steele kept struggling and was Tasered four times before she was subdued.
Her lawyer, Barry Sinder, said Steele has a long-term crystal meth addiction. He said drugs were "surging" through her as she battled the two cops.
Besides assaulting peace officers, driving dangerously, personation and resisting arrest, she pleaded guilty to a couple of counts of fraud and failing to attend court.
Between Dec. 23, 2014, and Jan. 12, 2015, she fraudulently cashed cheques — one of them stolen from a Brandon resident — totalling $13,969 into her account, although she only took out $2,500. In any event, she has since paid all of the money back.
Steele has made a repeated attempts to seek help for her addiction but treatment failed, Sinder said.
But, drug-free while in jail since her arrest, she has been doing research, which resulted her in asking for a longer sentence than the Crown sought so she could attend a federal prison rather than a provincial jail.
In B.C., there’s a women’s prison with strong treatment programs, and there she can escape bad influences in Manitoba.
"I’m, for once, actually very happy being incarcerated, because I know I did wrong and I feel this is the only place left that I have to get my life back on track," Steele said as she apologized to the RCMP officers and their families.
Judge John Combs accepted a joint recommendation from lawyers and sentenced Steele to time served for the frauds, and a further two years plus a day in prison going forward for the events of Jan.  20.
by Ian Hitchen, Courtesy of the Brandon Sun
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