A Grand Forks man shot by police at the height of the 2018 freshet was sentenced at the city courthouse Wednesday, May 5.
Fifty-six-year-old Stuart Ashley Jones, who is a permanent resident of Canada, pleaded guilty in February to assaulting a peace officer and two criminal driving offenses stemming from his May 2018 arrest in Grand Forks, the court heard. He had been on 24-hour house arrest since June 2019, following a second altercation with police the month before.
Crown and defence counsels agreed Wednesday afternoon that Jones had been delivering sandbags to flooding homes and businesses for around 36 hours when he was pulled over by Mounties on suspicion of drunk driving on May 10, 2018. Jones admitted to drinking vodka and beer he’d been given by grateful residents and business owners, according to a pre-sentence report read by the Crown.
A Grand Forks Mountie shot Jones after he’d rammed two occupied police cruisers which had attempted to corral his truck and trailer near the intersection of Donaldson Drive and 76th Avenue.
Samples of Jones’s blood later confirmed he had been driving at well over the legal blood-alcohol limit. A police search of Jones’s truck found three 375 ml bottles of vodka, two of which were mostly empty, both sides agreed.
Speaking before Judge Robert Brown Wednesday morning, Crown prosecutor Rebecca Smythe asked that Jones be sentenced to six months in jail, less a day, to be followed by lengthy probation and a driving prohibition. Smythe said her submission reflected Jones’s long-term sobriety after his second May 2019 arrest by Grand Forks RCMP, after which he was convicted of obstructing a peace officer and driving on a prohibited license.
Smythe said a lengthier jail term would have unduly led to Jones’s deportation to the United Kingdom, where he holds citizenship.
Judge Brown then sentenced Jones to 12-months’ house arrest, to be followed by 12 months’ probation and a three-year driving prohibition.