The court has handed down another conviction to a prolific Kelowna offender.
John Michael Aronson was found guilty on Tuesday, March 9, for several charges related to a Sept. 23, 2019 police pursuit which saw him lead Mounties across the William R. Bennett Bridge into West Kelowna, before swerving into oncoming traffic where he collided with several vehicles. Aronson was convicted of all charges on the indictment: failing to stop for police pursuit, dangerous driving, driving while prohibited and breach of probation.
The chase occurred just hours after Aronson pleaded guilty to several charges surrounding a separate police incident in January 2019.
On the first day of trial in October 2020, the court heard from a man who was involved in the collision that day.
Aaron Joseph Ross was driving home from work to Kelowna from Penticton when he was struck by Aronson’s vehicle. He said he was out of work for more than a year due to his injuries.
“I just couldn’t get my head together,” he testified on Oct. 13, 2020. “It’s been a challenge over the last year. Everything seemed to be going alright and I get in this car accident and my whole life is flipped upside down. Physically, yeah I’m okay, but mentally — it’s almost a challenge to even talk about it at times.”
Ross said he was quick to exit the vehicle and heard Aronson “screaming for help” from his car. Ross stayed on scene where he spoke to police and said emergency crews had to extricate Aronson from his vehicle.
The Independent Investigations Office of B.C., the province’s police watchdog, investigated the incident and determined police had no liability for the injuries Aronson sustained as a result of the crash. Aronson suffered a fractured skull, broken arm, shoulder, femur, pelvis, knee and ankle.
In that report, Aronson said he was not aware he was being followed by police and denied being in a chase. He said his vehicle had been ‘tapped’ by a flat-bed truck that had come racing up behind him. He believed he lost control of his vehicle and after that, only remembered waking up in the hospital.
Following Aronson’s conviction, the Crown stayed a second driving while prohibited charge Aronson faced due to it being identical to the one he was convicted on — a rule known as the Kienapple principle.
Aronson remains in custody and will be back in court on April 8 to schedule a date for sentencing.
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