Alberta man gets prison sentence for dangerous high-speed police chase, fentanyl possession

At one point, Mitchell Elmore entered a divided four-lane highway driving on the wrong side. He weaved around cars and trucks approaching him at high speed, narrowly avoiding head-on collisions.

Mitchell Elmore sentenced to 5.5 years for dangerous driving, flight from police, fentanyl possession

Damage caused by Mitchell Elmore during a high-speed pursuit with Whitecourt RCMP. The officer was not seriously injured. (Court exhibit/Whitecourt RCMP )

An Alberta man has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for a September 2015 high-speed chase near Whitecourt where the driver ran stop signs, drove on the wrong side of the highway and slammed into a police vehicle. 

With credit for time already served, Mitchell Elmore will spend another 18 months behind bars, to be followed by three years of probation. 

Elmore, 36, was found guilty on eight criminal charges including dangerous driving, flight from police, possession of a stolen licence plate and leaving the scene of an accident. 

When RCMP searched his vehicle, they also found 895 fentanyl pills and 36 grams of methamphetamine. Elmore was also convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Whitecourt RCMP spot a man in a stolen truck after he failed to obey a stop sign. They pursue him, but eventually call off the chase due to safety concerns. 1:29

Elmore's run-in with the law began around 9 p.m. on a Friday nearly four years ago, when RCMP in Whitecourt tried to pull him over for failing to stop at a stop sign. Once officers activated their lights, Elmore took off. 

RCMP dashcam videos entered as exhibits at the trial show Elmore going through stop signs and colliding with an RCMP vehicle, causing significant damage to the police car. The officer inside received minor injuries. 

Elmore rammed the vehicle and kept driving with several other RCMP cars in pursuit. 

Mitchell Elmore is captured on RCMP dashcam footage after pulling a U-turn in an attempt to evade police. (Court exhibit/Whitecourt RCMP )

At one point, Elmore entered a divided four-lane highway driving on the wrong side. He weaved around cars and trucks approaching him at high speed, narrowly avoiding head-on collisions.

When it appeared he would be boxed in by two police vehicles, Elmore hit the ditch and kept driving.

The chase lasted almost 12 minutes before RCMP called it off for public safety reasons.

RCMP found Elmore's truck abandoned at a trailer park. The accused had fled on foot but was later captured and arrested. He's been in custody ever since. 

In Court of Queen's Bench Monday, Justice Gaylene Kendell said Elmore put public safety, police safety and his own safety at risk that night. 

"You engaged in a very dangerous driving pattern, including speeding, driving into oncoming traffic and a collision with a police vehicle," Kendell said. 

The judge also noted Elmore had done the same thing about seven months earlier when he led Grande Prairie RCMP on a high-speed chase. He damaged a police vehicle in that incident as well. At the time of the Whitecourt pursuit, there was a warrant out for his arrest. 

'Not the same man who fled from police in 2015'

At an earlier sentencing hearing, the Crown asked for a nine-year prison sentence, while the defence suggested he should be placed on probation, with credit for time already served. 

The court was told Elmore was heavily addicted to oxycontin. 

"He is clearly a drug addict," Kendell said.  "An addict who commits crimes to support his habit and because of his addiction." 

But she noted that since his arrest, Elmore has turned his life around. 

"Mr. Elmore is not the same man who fled from police in 2015," the judge said. 

Three weeks after his arrest, Elmore found out he was going to be a father and is determined to play a role in his child's life. He has gone through intensive addiction counselling and received glowing reports from those who worked with him. Elmore became involved in boot camp at the Edmonton Remand Centre and now serves as a mentor to others coming into the program. 

The judge called Elmore's efforts to attain sobriety "impressive" and gave him credit for the significant childhood trauma he endured as well as his prospects for rehabilitation. 

Before Elmore was led back to a cell, the judge wished him good luck for the future.