‘Carjacking’ suspect on trial in Williams Lake

Jonathan Billyboy is in Williams Lake Supreme Court this week facing charges stemming from an October 2010 incident where a person drove erratically through the city before crashing into another vehicle, stealing a car, and assaulting a person who had tried to offer assistance.

Jonathan Billyboy is in Williams Lake Supreme Court this week facing charges stemming from an October 2010 incident where a person drove erratically through the city before crashing into another vehicle, stealing a car, and assaulting a person who had tried to offer assistance.

Billyboy’s charges include robbery, flight from a peace officer, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, assault, break and enter with intent to commit offence, wilfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer, possession of stolen property under $5,000, and theft of under $5,000. He has pleaded not guilty to the above charges.

The proceedings, which began Monday and are scheduled to last all week, are taking place without a jury. On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Joel Grove heard from witnesses, including Staff Sgt. Warren Brown, about the events that took place around 8 a.m. Oct. 13, 2010.

Brown described to the court his recollection of the incident, including how a black pick-up truck was reported to be driving erratically through the city.

He said that on his way to where the truck was believed to be, another report came through the radio that a collision involving a vehicle matching the truck’s description had just occurred.

Soon after, a grey Dodge Neon nearly struck the unmarked RCMP car in which Brown was sitting.

Brown said he saw the Neon about 100 metres away coming towards him at a high rate of speed.

“It seemed to be accelerating as it neared,” Brown said, adding that as the car approached, he turned on his lights to indicate he was a police officer.  Brown told the court the car “veered very quickly into my lane” and was approaching him head on.

“I thought it was going to hit me,” Brown said, adding that at the last moment the car veered and corrected itself, avoiding a collision with the RCMP vehicle.

As the car passed, Brown said he saw the driver of the vehicle, and described the driver as being “similar in appearance” to the accused.

Brown said he pursued the vehicle through the residential area of the city, and saw children walking on the road carrying backpacks.

Brown eventually lost sight of the car, but a few minutes later heard on the radio reports that a suspect was running.

“It sounded to me like there was a foot chase happening,” Brown said, adding that the car had collided with a cement post at the bottom of Carson Drive and had sustained substantial damage to its front end.

Brown arrived at the scene and heard voices coming from the backyard area of a house on Fifth Avenue, near the bottom of Carson Drive.

Brown said officers believed the suspect was in or around the house on Fifth Avenue, so he knocked on the residence’s door. He said two young girls, possibly in the early teens, answered the door and indicated the suspect was in the residence and invited Brown inside.

Brown heard a window smash and lots of yelling and proceeded to the basement of the home, where there were three or four officers arresting a suspect. Brown said the suspect was handcuffed and escorted out by police. He described the suspect as being “very hostile” and “very aggressive” and was yelling, swearing, and being non-compliant.

“He appeared to be similar in appearance to the person driving the vehicle,” Brown told the court.

In October 2010, the Williams Lake RCMP issued a media release about the incident, describing it as a “violent carjacking.”

At that time, police had said that after the initial collision involving the black pick-up truck, the RCMP were flagged down by a female who reported she had stopped to offer assistance to the occupants of the truck when one of the men violently attacked her and pulled her from her vehicle.

The RCMP release said the man had fled from the scene in her vehicle, and that the vehicle eventually crashed and the driver was followed to a nearby residence where he was arrested.

Court proceedings continued yesterday and are expected to continue for the rest of the week.

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