Teen gets lecture on scourge of rural crime
Twobears Bird will face one more year of jail for a string of break-and-enters, auto thefts and high-speed chases
On Tuesday, a clerk at Prince Albert’s provincial courthouse printed out a list of charges Twobears Bird was facing that morning.
It ran seven full pages long. As part of a deal with the Crown, 19-year-old Bird pleaded guilty to a string of rural property crimes and high-speed chases this spring. Judge S. Schiefner sentenced him to six months time served, as well as an additional year in jail.
Crown prosecutor Cynthia Alexander guided Schiefner through Bird’s season of crime, which was centred in the RM of Buckland and the Sturgeon Lake First Nation. In April, the RCMP linked him with a series of break-and-enters and the theft of a Chevy truck and a Wildcat ATV.
The truck and the ATV were eventually recovered, but Bird ended up with warrants for his arrest. On May 13, an RCMP constable spotted him getting into a vehicle by the Sturgeon Lake store. When he confirmed that it was Bird, he opened up the driver’s side door to place him under arrest.
“The accused, at that point, puts the vehicle in drive and drives away,” Alexander explained. “Cst. Link is partially inside the vehicle when the vehicle starts to take off, so Cst. Link spins away from the vehicle to avoid injury.”
Another RCMP officer tailed Bird as he fled at high speed toward a field. The vehicle was identified as stolen.
Police found Bird again on May 15, in a grey Chevy truck reported stolen from Meadow Lake. That morning, Sturgeon Lake RCMP got a report that Bird was driving impaired and “stunting.”
Alexander said that the officers were concerned about their safety, and called for backup from Prince Albert police. A constable then spotted Bird, who ignored her lights and sirens and drove away.
Police followed Bird over a highway and then down rural grid roads as he drove the truck “carelessly” and “quite hard.” Alexander said he began driving over “uncharted terrain,” bouncing the truck off rocks and crashing through farm gates.
Bird was finally arrested. A breath sample showed that he was driving at about twice the legal limit. He also lacked an appropriate licence.
Alexander had agreed on a joint sentencing submission with Bird’s lawyer, Dale Blenner-Hassett. They asked Judge Schiefner to impose one year over and above the time Bird has already spent in custody, plus nine months probation.
Schiefner then called on the accused to speak for himself.
“I’m sorry for what I did,” Bird said. “I have learned my lesson.”
The judge accepted that as remorse. He said that he was initially considering a harsher sentence, but chose to defer to the joint recommendation. He noted that rural property crimes are “rampant” around Prince Albert, and lectured Bird on the climate of fear he’s helping sustain.
“There are a number of rural farm owners, people who live in the country, who are fearful for their safety and security,” he said. “Think of all the people you affected.
“Know that you are an adult,” he added. “The consequences, the punishment, for this kind of behaviour are very severe.”
As part of Bird’s probation, he will be required to repay hundreds for some of the property he damaged. He will also face a one year driving prohibition.