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Man who crashed plow truck in Portugal Cove deemed unfit to stand trial

One man is in custody following a bizarre incident that ended in a crash and two electrical poles cracked off. Keith Gosse/The Telegram
One man is in custody following a bizarre incident that ended in a crash and two electrical poles cracked off. Keith Gosse/The Telegram

A St. John's man charged in connection with a crash that saw him rescued from an overturned stolen plow truck last November has been found unfit to stand trial for now.

Jake Dalton. - SaltWire Network
Jake Dalton. - SaltWire Network

Jake Dalton, 23, has been in custody since his arrest Nov. 18, and has spent the majority of that time in hospital.

Dalton appeared in provincial court in St. John's Tuesday afternoon, where, after hearing evidence from a forensic psychiatrist and Dalton's lawyer and speaking with Dalton directly, Judge Lois Skanes determined the court is unable to proceed with the charges against him at the moment. Dalton will remain in hospital until he is assessed by the province's Criminal Code Mental Disorder Review Board.

As with any person determined unfit to stand trial, the review board may decide to give Dalton a conditional discharge or order him to remain in hospital, or, if he's later deemed fit for trial, send the matter back to court.

The RNC says officers responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle on Thorburn Road in St. John's the evening of Nov. 18, and eventually caught up to a man driving a pickup truck with a plow on the front, the blade down on dry pavement. When the driver refused to stop, police ended the pursuit.

The truck later crashed in a ditch on Beachy Cove Road in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, cracking two utility poles and landing upside-down, with the driver, alleged to be Dalton, trapped inside. He was able to get out of the vehicle after firefighters broke a window of the truck. He did not appear to have any serious injuries, and was wearing only boxers.

The truck had reportedly been stolen from Toyota Plaza in St. John's earlier in the day.

Dalton has been charged with breaking into Toyota Plaza, theft from Toyota Plaza, mischief by damaging property, failing to stop for police, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and three breaches of court orders, including that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour and not possess illegal substances.

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