Nfld. & Labrador

Weekend jail term for driver in Bonavista minivan attack

A driver who admitted to using a minivan as a weapon in an attack outside a Bonavista fish plant has been sentenced to 90 days in jail, which will be served on weekends.

Tyler Hicks, 27, drove a minivan into a car with three people inside

Tyler Hicks was charged with two counts of attempted murder in April 2018. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

A driver who admitted to using a minivan as a weapon during an attack against three people in a Bonavista parking lot will serve a weekend jail term.

Tyler Hicks has been sentenced to 90 days in jail, which will be served intermittently, followed by almost two years of house arrest.

Hicks pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, and uttering threats. Two charges of attempted murder were withdrawn.

According to an agreed statement of facts, the 27-year-old man intentionally crashed his Honda Odyssey minivan into a blue sedan with three people inside.

Some will consider it lenient. - Judge Paul Noble

Witnesses told RCMP that Hicks "T-boned" the car, before getting out of his van and using a small aluminum baseball bat to attack two of the men in the car. It happened in the parking lot of the Ocean Choice International fish plant on April 16, 2018.

The sentence was suggested as part of a joint submission between Crown and defence lawyers in the case. Judge Paul Noble told Clarenville's provincial court on Monday that he had some misgivings about endorsing the sentence, but after a review of the case, Noble said there was no reason to reject it.

Hicks was sentenced to 90 days in jail at provincial court in Clarenville on Monday. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

The judge said "some will consider it lenient," but he found it was within the range of acceptable outcomes.

In imposing the sentence, Noble pointed out that Hicks has been on house arrest for more than a year, and hasn't had any incidents. The judge also noted that Hicks started a mental health support group in Bonavista, which will meet for the first time this week.

Parking lot attack

The three victims of the attack were brought to hospital in Bonavista for treatment. One of the men needed a fire department response to get him out of the damaged vehicle.

"The skid marks and scrapes on the road indicated that the van came out of the ABE parking lot, hit the Cobalt in the fish plant parking lot, and pushed it roughly 50 feet," read an agreed statement of facts.

"The Odyssey was in gear and running when fire [crews] arrived and there was no indication that its brakes had been applied prior to or during the collision."

Hicks was at first charged with assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. It was a week later that RCMP added two charges of attempted murder which were later withdrawn. 

One of the victims in the attack who apparently "had words" with Hicks prior to the incident later told police he and Hicks "got problems" relating to their relationships to a woman.

Hicks turned himself into police without incident following the attack.

According to the conditions of his sentence, Hicks won't be allowed to drive a vehicle on any road in Newfoundland and Labrador for two years. He's also not allowed to drink or use drugs, own weapons, or have any contact with his victims.

He'll serve his time at the RCMP detachment in Bonavista, starting this weekend. 

The judge said the conditional sentence means "considerable scrutiny" of Hicks for a "considerable" period of time.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Garrett Barry