Teen narrowly avoids jail time for ramming ex-friend on Listowel highway

A Palmerston teen avoided jail time for cutting off his former friend on a highway outside of Listowel and intentionally ramming him, but he still received a suspended sentence, probation, and an earful from a Stratford judge.

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A Palmerston teen avoided jail time for cutting off – and intentionally ramming – his former friend on a highway outside of Listowel, but he still received a suspended sentence, probation and an earful from a Stratford judge.

The way John Andrade acted behind the wheel of his pickup truck that Friday night this past July – mere weeks before his 19th birthday – was “outrageous,” Justice Kathryn McKerlie said.

“This type of conduct is not tolerated – to effectively use your vehicle as a weapon against another driver,” she said.

The court heard Kole See drove by the Tim Hortons in Palmerston and noticed Andrade,  and his pickup parked there. See thought Andrade, who was outside his vehicle, recognized him, so he drove his 2002 Volkswagen past the coffee shop and headed south on Highway 23 towards the Listowel McDonald’s. The pair’s friendship had earlier fallen apart due to a third party.

As See headed into North Perth, he noticed a pickup passing other cars on the single-lane highway behind him. The truck pulled up beside him in the oncoming lane and started to veer into his lane, so he hit the brakes, the court heard. Andrade pulled in front of See, came to a stop on the 80-kilometre-per-hour highway and both drivers briefly got out of their vehicles.

See tried to drive around the pickup, but Andrade jerked his steering wheel to the left and hit the right rear door of the Volkswagen, the court heard.

“There was glass described as ‘going everywhere,’” assistant Crown attorney Elizabeth Wilson said. “The light from the front rear door came on as a result, and then Mr. Andrade left the scene without offering any assistance to Mr. See.”

Defence lawyer Michael Fair pointed out See drove away. The court heard he went straight to the police station.

Andrade pleaded guilty in a Stratford courtroom to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. Both lawyers and the judge noted he could have gone to jail for this conviction.

“While this isn’t a situation of a prolonged police chase, for example, or other situations of dangerous driving, it is an intentional act where Mr. Andrade is taking his motor vehicle and using it in an offensive – offensive in the literal sense – way against Mr. See,” Wilson said.

Instead, the lawyers agreed on a one-year suspended sentence with probation, which includes 50 hours of community service and strict orders to stay away from See. He also can’t drive for one year.

Andrade already paid See $350 in restitution – a seemingly low figure – but See bought a new door and fixed the damage himself, Perth County OPP Const. Krista Denstedt told the Crown’s office.

A second charge of failure to stop after a collision was withdrawn.

tbridge@postmedia.com

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