Screenshot from a video from Transportation B.C. of a driver who maneuvered past flaggers into an avalanche closure on the Trans-Canada Highway west of Revelstoke in December. Screenshot from Transportation B.C.

Man who drove past flaggers gets jail time

The man who blew past a flagger crew near Revelstoke last year is serving jail time

The South Okanagan man who drove past flaggers into an avalanche closure west of Revelstoke last year is spending some more time behind bars.

Erich Koenig, 55, pleaded guilty of disobeying directions of a flagger, failure to stop for police, failure to comply with court orders and a failure to attend court.

Revelstoke RCMP were called to the Trans-Canada Highway in Three Valley Gap when Koenig drove past a flagger truck into an area closed for avalanche control on Dec. 30, 2016 in a 1998 Pontiac Sunfire.

Koenig, who is no stranger to the Penticton courthouse with 12 prior probation breaches on his record, has been diagnosed with a schizoaffective disorder, anti-social personality and borderline intellectual impairment.

Judge Meg Shaw, who sentenced Koenig on April 5 in Penticton, said Koenig’s driving record was “quite frankly, horrendous.”

“It’s frustrating to the court with what limited resources we have through the court to deal with individuals like Mr. Koenig, who have chronic problems that bring them into conflict with the law,” Shaw said.

Shaw added the difficulty overlaying Koenig’s charges before the court are his mental health issues, exaserbated by his use of methamphetamine and alcohol.

“Mr. Koenig created an extremely dangerous situation by disobeying, or refusing to obey a flagger and the police,” Shaw said.

She also pointed to his dangerous activity on Dec. 16, 2016 when Koenig essentially ran from police driving at a high rate of speed, over 100 km/hr, leaving Penticton.

Koenig has been in custody since his arrest after the Dec. 30 incident. He was granted four days of credit at time-and-a-half prior to being denied bail in January 2017.

Shaw sentenced Koenig to 155 days, roughly five months, in custody. Koenig has served 99 days with 56 days remaining on his sentence. Koenig was also sentenced to one year of probation, a one-year driving probation and was ordered to pay $1,000 in fines.

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