Fleeing driver given three years in jail

Devon Laslop was sentenced to jail and a nine year driving ban in connection to a crash that killed a 47-year-old Delta man.

Victor Melo Duarte

Victor Melo Duarte

A 30-year-old Chilliwack man has been sentenced to three years in jail and given a nine year driving ban in connection with a police-involved crash that killed a 47-year-old Delta man on 16 Avenue in Langley in 2012.

Devon Laslop was sentenced on Thursday in Surrey Provincial Court. For pleading guilty to flight causing death, Laslop was also given a three-year driving ban under the Criminal Code. He was also sentenced for driving while prohibited on that fateful day. For that, a provincial judge sentenced him to a further six months in jail and a six year driving ban under the Motor Vehicle Act as well as a $1,000 fine.

Laslop was originally charged with flight causing death and dangerous driving causing death as well as driving while prohibited.

At a preliminary inquiry held last October in Surrey Provincial Court, Laslop pleaded guilty of the one charge of flight causing death.

Laslop fled a police road check and then crashed into two vehicles at an intersection at 16 Ave. and 240 Street around 5:30 p.m., on Oct. 29, 2012. He was prohibited from driving at the time.

Victor Melo Duarte, a beloved father of two and husband, was killed instantly when Laslop, driving a pickup truck, hit another vehicle, which in turn hit Duarte’s vehicle.

Because police did pursue the fleeing vehicle for a short distance, the Independent Investigation Office was called in to investigate whether the Langley RCMP’s action contributed to the fatal crash.

Two police vehicles pursued the truck, with emergency lights on, travelling more than 100 km/hr on a 60 km/hr road.

But according to the IIO report, the lead vehicle discontinued the pursuit in 36 seconds. The officer decided to pull over and turn off the lights instead, judging the pursuit as fruitless.

Less than three minutes later, the collision took place, leaving Duarte dead and Laslop seriously injured, said the IIO report.

This was the first investigation in Langley conducted by the IIO.

Surrey North Delta Leader