Speeder was heading to cop station to turn self in: Lawyer

Stock photo of a traffic stop.



WINNIPEG - A man arrested following a high speed chase through the city's west end claims he wasn't trying to escape capture - he was racing to a police station to turn himself in.

Terence Ernste, 43, pleaded guilty Wednesday to breaching a court order he not attend his former girlfriend's Valour Road home, flight from police, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and driving without a licence.

Court heard Ernste showed up outside his former girlfriend's home sometime after midnight on June 24, 2011, prompting a neighbour to call police. Ernste fled in a Dodge Caravan, sparking a chase that reached speeds of 120 km/h.

Ernste ran through several stop signs and red lights and collided with another car before abandoning his vehicle.

He was arrested after a short foot chase.

Defence lawyer Kathy Bueti said Ernste fled after recognizing one of the arriving officers as one of the same officers who allegedly assaulted him during an arrest a year earlier. Ernste later pleaded guilty to assaulting the officer and was sentenced to one year supervised probation.

"Of all the officers in the police force, this is the one who arrives at the scene," Bueti said.

Ernste panicked, Bueti said, and made a split-second decision to drive to the nearest police station so as to avoid a second assault.

Ernste said at the time of the police chase he was still "incapacitated" by a concussion he suffered following the assault a year earlier.

Ernste has a lengthy criminal record, including a manslaughter conviction for which he served eight years in prison.

The Crown is recommending Ernste be sentenced to two years in prison and another two years supervised probation.

"His behaviour that night created grave risks for himself and police ... and seriously jeopardized the lives of bystanders who crossed his path," said Crown attorney Alana Littman.

Justice Rocky Pollack reserved sentencing.

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