Kelowna roads will be safer if a notorious and dangerous driver is sentenced to four years in jail, a judge heard Wednesday.
John Michael Aronson's long history of speeding, dangerous driving, fleeing from police, resisting arrest, and assault warrants a lengthy prison sentence, Crown prosecutor Dave Ruse said in court.
"Simply put, when he is in jail, he isn't going to kill somebody on the roads," Ruse said of Aronson, who sometimes used the alias 'Johnny Blaze' while racking up more than 30 convictions.
"He has been pretty much offending continuously for 17 years," Ruse said. "He persistently engages in criminal conduct, and he represents a serious threat to the public."
Judge Clarke Burnett was receiving sentencing submissions from Ruse and Aronson's lawyer, Justin Dosanjh, who suggested a jail term of 2 1/2 years.
Aronson, sitting in a wheelchair, appeared via video link from the Oliver jail where he has been held since his most recent criminal offence, speeding away from police and triggering a multi-vehicle crash in West Kelowna on Sept. 23, 2019.
Earlier that same day, he had been released from custody after vowing to a judge that he was going to get his life together, take care of his children, and stop committing crimes.
"I'm sorry for what I did. You're not going to see me back in here," an apparently contrite Aronson, who had been banned from driving, told the judge at that sentencing hearing.
Instead, the newly-freed Aronson quickly got behind the wheel of a car, and failed to pull over when spotted by police. He sped across the W.R. Bennett bridge, blew through red lights in rush hour, and caused a "massive" accident near the corner of Highway 97 and Boucherie Road, Ruse said.
"It was purely fortuitous that nobody other than Mr. Aronson was seriously injured in that crash," Ruse said.
Aronson was hospitalized after that crash - as he had been in January 2019 when he had also led RCMP on a chase through Kelowna streets that ended with him getting shot twice by police and set upon by police dogs after he stole a car from the parking lot of the ICBC branch at Orchard Park mall to try continue his getaway.
After that incident, Aronson was put in a medically-induced coma, required 147 stitches and staples to deal with the gunshot wounds and dog bites, and underwent several surgeries.
That gruelling ordeal alone, Ruse said, should have been enough to convince Aronson that he had to quit his life of crime. "But it had absolutely no effect," Ruse said.
"The only way to protect the public is to incarcerate him and that's the unfortunate, cold reality of the situation," Ruse said.
Since Aronson has been in custody since the fall of 2019 and gets time-and-half for the days he's been incarcerated, a four-year sentence would mean he spends another 22 months behind bars.
Judge Burnett said he would pronounce sentence at a later date.