Prison for South Okanagan man who crashed stolen truck injuring vineyard worker

Jason Poulin, 33, pleaded guilty to a number of charges including assault, possession of stolen property and several breaches of probation.

A South Okanagan man who drove a stolen truck into a vineyard, injuring a farmworker, will spend the next two years behind bars.

Jason Poulin, 33, pleaded guilty but told the judge at the Penticton courthouse on Monday he did not know the severity of his actions until his lawyer informed him.

In July, Poulin was seen behind the wheel of a truck, later found out to be stolen from Okanagan Falls with a stolen licence plate.

Slumped over the wheel Poulin drove off road, caught air over some rocks and went into an Oliver vineyard breaking the arm of the farmworker he struck.

Crown counsel Ann Lerchs told the court the owner of the vineyard took a photo on his cell phone of the driver as he ran away from the scene. RCMP identified the fleeing person as Poulin.

The failure to stop at the scene of an accident and two possession of stolen property offences are a string of charges Poulin was facing in court.

A month earlier, on May 27, police were called to a residence on 33rd Street in Osoyoos for a theft in progress. Brenda Dorosz was preparing to head to work when she saw someone, identified as Poulin, sitting in her husband’s truck. With the help of three others, Dorosz subdued Poulin who was struggling trying to escape. At one point he pushed Dorosz and attempted to run but Dorosz stuck out her arm “clotheslining” Poulin. She was later taken to hospital suffering a pulled muscle in her arm and a fractured rib. RCMP discovered a pair of binoculars and an iPod on the driveway that Poulin attempted to steal from the truck and a backpack that belonged to him containing a cell phone, scales and various tools. He pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm and theft under $5,000.

In a victims impact statement, read by Crown counsel Lerchs, the court learned Dorosz has trouble sleeping since the incident and worries Poulin will seek revenge.

Judge Gregory Koturbash said it is well known that property crime in the South Okanagan is rising and it is not uncommon the people convicted of these crimes have drug problems. He said what does get lost is how quickly things can escalate in seriousness when they are committing these crimes.

(read more on Koturbash speaking about rise in property crime)

In a joint submission between Crown and defence, Poulin was handed a two-year sentence sending him to federal prison, where he said he intends to receive programming to help with his drug addiction.

“His addiction is meth, and it has been for a number of years. He is quite bright, but that meth has got a hold of his brain like you wouldn’t believe,” said defence counsel Robert Maxwell.

Poulin, who at the time of these offences was under a court ordered curfew, also pleaded guilty to a number of breach of probation orders. The 33-year old man has a lengthy record with 18 prior convictions related to property crime and breach of probation.

Poulin apologized to everyone that he affected with his actions and said he is “determined to change” because of what he has done.