Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for May 2, 2013

Offender committed infractions at local jail

The Anchorage man who ran the border at Beaver Creek last October and led the RCMP on a lengthy, high-speed chase is scheduled to be sentenced next Friday.

By Chuck Tobin on May 2, 2013 at 3:46 pm

The Anchorage man who ran the border at Beaver Creek last October and led the RCMP on a lengthy, high-speed chase is scheduled to be sentenced next Friday.

The prosecution lawyer is seeking a prison term of 3 1/2 years for 29-year-old Jason Echeverri, while the defence is asking for 12 months.

The matter was in court Wednesday afternoon to provide territorial Judge Michael Cozens with details about an incident involving Echeverri at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC), as the judge considers how much credit to give him for time already served.

Echeverri told Cozens that before the incident, he was getting his life together after a troubled past. He was on probation and living with his mother, and was setting the ground work to reunite with his son.

Echeverri said he was doing well – the best he’d done in a very long time.

He’d purchased a car with the help of his mom, but there were still people of influence around him when he decided to leave and prove to himself he could make it on his own, Echeverri told the judge.

“After reflecting on my actions, I have learned how quickly things can go wrong,” he said.

Echeverri apologized to the people who were on the north Alaska Highway as he led police on the 350-kilometre chase, recognizing his actions could have resulted in tragedy.

While in jail at WCC, he’s graduated from the Substance Abuse Management course, has taken counselling and is doing what he needs to do to get himself back on the right path, he said.

Echeverri told Cozens he was on the right path before he fell off. Now he’s picking himself up, dusting himself off and plans to continue down that path.

The judge told Echeverri he has to prepare himself to deal with the consequences of his actions in Canada.

He must also face the charges awaiting him in Alaska for allegedly assaulting and escaping Alaskan border guards, once he’s served his time in Canada, Cozens said.

“So it will be a long road,” the judge said, adding it will require patience. “If you stick with what you said there, you will get to the end of that long road in the right place.”

Cozens heard testimony Wednesday afternoon from Blaine Demchuk, the WCC’s manager of correctional services.

Demchuk explained Echeverri has been a good inmate for the most part, but was involved in an incident in January. All 16 cell mates in cell block F refused to return to their individual cells after having been ordered to do so.

The inmates, he said, were protesting how they didn’t get enough coffee with their supper.

The cell block guard called in a code yellow, said Demchuk. A code yellow is issued when a guard has cause for concern.

In this case, there were 16 inmates who were getting antsy, and the one guard, he told the judge.

Demchuk said a code yellow means an automatic lock-down of the entire facility, and inmates are to return to their individual cells immediately.

The 16 inmates in cell block F did not comply.

When Demchuk arrived at the cell block along with 10 or so other guards, he ordered the prisoners three times to return to the cells, then ordered each one individually. But there was still no compliance, he told the judge.

Demchuk said it took about 45 to 50 minutes before the prisoners complied and returned to their cells.

At one point, Echeverri spoke up and encouraged his fellow inmates not to comply with the order; that they had to show the guards who was running the place, he told Cozens.

He said Echeverri spoke only once, and for his involvement in the incident, he was transferred to the segregation unit for a number of weeks, along with four others from cell block F.

There were a couple of other infractions against Echeverri, including being in possession of a two C-cell batteries, a contraband item.

On another occasion during a search, a crude homemade tattoo gun was confiscated from his cell. Echeverri was given a stern verbal warning, he said.

Demchuk said aside from that and a couple of other minor offences, Echeverri has been a relatively good inmate who is willing to work and was conscientious about his work.

He enrolled in whatever counselling and programming was made available to him, he said.

In October 2012, Echeverri was turned away at the Beaver Creek border crossing on the Canadian side.

He was instructed to return to Alaska through the American border crossing, some 30 kilometres away.

As he was on probation, and some 360 kilometres outside the region he was confined to, Echeverri was arrested by the Alaskan authorities and put in a holding cell.

After going to the bathroom, he refused to return to the cell.

A scuffle broke out. Echeverri fled the border station and eluded the guards in the bush before sneaking back and obtaining his car keys.

He headed for Beaver Creek, ran the border station and continued down the Alaska Highway at speeds of between 130 and 160 kilometres an hour.

He was arrested several hours later in a bush cabin near Silver City.

The RCMP used a spike belt to flatten his tires, though he continued driving on the rim until abandoning his vehicle and dashing into the bush.

CommentsAdd a comment

john jack

May 3, 2013 at 8:05 am

Fine him big and send him back to USA . We don’t need the bill for a lengthy prison term.  Waste of tax payers money - it will cost more to keep him than it’s worth. TAX MONEY TAX MONEY!!!! DAH Government!!!!!

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