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Dangerous driving in stolen minivan nets three-year driving ban

The erratic driver swerved into oncoming traffic and rear-ended another driver while racing down several North Vancouver streets
A North Vancouver man has been banned for driving for three years. Burnaby NOW file photo

A 33-year-old man who drove dangerously through several North Vancouver streets, including running red lights, rear-ending another vehicle and swerving erratically into oncoming lanes of traffic in a stolen minivan, has been handed a three-year driving ban.

Jackson Andrew Leo of North Vancouver was handed the ban, along with a sentence of time already served in jail, after pleading guilty to dangerous driving and possession of a stolen vehicle on Feb. 16, 2023.

According to Crown prosecutor Lisa Falloon, the driving drama began around 7 p.m. on the evening of Feb. 16 when a citizen called police to report a vehicle driving erratically, heading eastbound on West 3rd Street. Minutes later a second call came in, from a driver who described a Chrysler Pacifica with no license plates driving dangerously close to his rear bumper and rear-ending him as he drove with his wife.

Crown prosecutors described the driver as driving erratically down both West 3rd and West 1st streets and Esplanade Avenue in North Vancouver, running a red light south on Chesterfield, and driving over a curb and through a boulevard garden.

One witness who saw Leo drive through the garden asked the driver if he was alright, according to prosecutors. “The driver indicated he was waiting for some friends and needed a cigarette,” prosecutor said.

When officers attempted to pull the vehicle over by conducting a traffic stop, the minivan again fled at a high rate of speed, weaving dangerously in and out of traffic.

Officers described the Chrysler as eastbound on Third Street,  increasing speed and moving into oncoming traffic and swerving, said Falloon.

The minivan was later located at a Petro-Canada gas station on Mountain Highway. According to CCTV footage, the Chrysler Pacific had been stolen from the Foundation Auto dealership at Capilano Mall earlier in the day.

Leo was identified through video footage from the mall and video taken by the passenger of the car he rear-ended.

According to the judge’s decision, Leo has previous convictions for assault, threatening, robbery, taking part in a riot, and break-and-enter.

Leo’s defence lawyer said he grew up in North Vancouver but had been living at a homeless shelter on the North Shore on and off for the last couple of years. The defence lawyer said Leo began using heroin at 18, shortly after his foster mother died of cancer.

Most recently, Leo has been making efforts to deal with his drug addictions, said the lawyer.

In addition to the driving ban, Leo was sentenced to the 24 days he has already served in jail.