Sentence in police chase that shut down William R Bennett Bridge

An Oliver man will spend three years in prison for his part in a car chase …

An Oliver man will spend three years in prison for his part in a car chase that in January prompted the Mounties to deploy helicopters and police hounds as well as temporarily shut down the William R Bennett Bridge.

Ryan Regan, 33, was sentenced Monday to three years in prison less time served since his Jan. 12 arrest for theft of a motor vehicle, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, flight from a police officer and assault with a weapon — the latter charge relating to his actions with the car toward a police officer.

Regan’s partner in crime was Michael Dennison, 25. He pleaded guilty in March to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle while disqualified and breach of a probation order. Other charges against him were stayed and he was, at that time, sentenced to six months in jail for dangerous driving, in addition to 30 days for driving while disqualified and one day for breach of probation. Dennison has a lesser criminal record than Regan, and that worked in his favour during sentencing.

The traffic jamming crime spree started in Penticton, when Mounties pulled over an old Oldsmobile that was believed to be stolen and the driver sped away.

Penticton RCMP didn’t follow the suspect car, but sent a message down the line to other Okanagan detachments that a suspect vehicle was headed in their direction.

In West Kelowna, Mounties set up a roadblock on Highway 97 to catch the men, but Dennison decided not to stop and rammed into a cruiser in the process.

That’s when the chase got underway. It only went 15, or so, kilometres to the William R Bennett Bridge, where the Oldsmobile was closed in by other traffic.

Dennison and Regan were arrested, but the incident took its toll, with police reporting at least three vehicles being damaged, including a police car that had its front end smashed in.

Crews took the better part of an hour cleaning up the mess.