Skip to content

Fleeing police in stolen car gets Alberta man nine months in jail

Man fled RCMP, tried to break through fence after a lengthy police pursuit from Westlock to Barrhead
WES provincial court

A man who led RCMP on a pursuit from Westlock to Barrhead while operating a stolen vehicle will have to serve 225 days in jail and is prohibited from driving from the next three years. 

At Westlock Court of Justice on April 10, Isaac Nanooch pleaded guilty to flight from police, possession of stolen property over $5,000 and mischief over $5,000. Three other charges of possession of stolen property, resisting a peace officer and mischief were withdrawn. 

Justice Clifton Purvis sentenced Nanooch to 180 days in jail on the flight from police charge, 90 days consecutive on the possession charge and 90 days concurrent on the mischief charge for a total of 270 days, plus the three-year driving prohibition. 

However, because Nanooch had been in custody for a total of 30 days, his sentence was reduced by 45 days on an enhanced credit basis. 

The sentence was in line with the Crown’s recommendation, while the defence had asked for a total of 180 days. However, Justice Purvis said his own inclination would have been for a heavier sentence. 

"I would have imposed a sentence of at least a year. But I get that it’s an early guilty plea, and Mr. Nanooch will get the benefit of that,” he said. 

Crown prosecutor Patricia Hankinson said on Dec. 5, 2023, Westlock RCMP officers observed a grey Ford Escape along 107 Avenue in Westlock. Its tail lights were not activated, so the RCMP attempted to conduct a traffic stop. 

Initially, the vehicle pulled over to the side of the road, but then it pulled away again and continued westbound on 107 Avenue. 

The RCMP vehicle’s siren was activated in conjunction with the emergency lights, which were already on, Hankinson said. The RCMP then pulled up alongside the Ford Escape, but the driver (Nanooch) turned his head away from police and continued to drive away. 

She said the RCMP ran some checks and determined the vehicle’s licence plate did not match the Ford Escape.  The RCMP deactivated their emergency equipment and continued to follow the Ford Escape at a distance, maintaining visual contact. 

The vehicle continued westbound out of the Town of Westlock along Highway 18 and even passed through the Town of Barrhead while heading west. Additional police units were called in to assist, but the RCMP continued following at a distance. 

Eventually, the vehicle turned down a dead-end road near Range Road 52 in the County of Barrhead and entered a field, where it came upon a barbed wire fence and gate. 

She said Nanooch tried to smash through the fence with the vehicle, but he failed on the first attempt and then got stuck on the second. 

RCMP approached the vehicle and informed the driver he was under arrest, ordering him to turn off the vehicle and exit it. Nanooch ignored these commands and police observed him reaching into the centre console. 

That’s when the police smashed the vehicle’s side window and forcibly extracted Nanooch. He failed to comply with verbal commands and tried to hold his hands under his body while the RCMP attempted to place him in handcuffs, though eventually they managed to do so. 

While the damage to the fence was minimal, Hankinson said, “the damage to the Ford Escape was not, and estimates exceed $5,000.” The vehicle was determined to have been stolen out of Edmonton the night before. 

Hankinson noted that Nanooch does have a criminal record, including charges for possession of stolen property and resisting arrest. 

Hankinson said the Court of Appeal has previously stated that flight from police was intended to be an aggravated criminal offence as it can potentially put the public at danger.  

Defence lawyer Kwame Abrefah said he had spoken several times to his client, who hails from the Bigstone Cree Nation. 

He said Nanooch lost both of his parents at a young age due to preventable diseases, adding that if they had not been exposed to challenges in their own lives, “they would not have died that early.” 

He said Nanooch has not had a strong role model to guide him in making good decisions in his life, but he does have a strong connection with the elders in his community. 

"Particularly when he sees himself going off track, he reconnects with them,” Abrefah said. 

He noted that Nanooch is now attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings while in the Edmonton Remand Centre and his plan is to go into residential treatment once he gets out of custody.

[email protected]

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks