The driver of a stolen vehicle who was shot and killed in Truro after striking and injuring an RCMP officer had only recently been released from jail for threatening to kill a judge.
Although the man’s identity has not been officially released, Salt Wire Network has learned that the man who died after being shot by the RCMP officer early Saturday morning, is Mitchell Anthony Speight, 22, of Amherst.
Speight, who has a long criminal history, was driving a car stolen from Amherst when he failed to stop for an RCMP officer, who attempted to stop him after exiting his police cruiser on Willow Street. The stolen Kia left Willow Street and crashed through a fence at the entrance to the Cobequid Trail beside the Service Canada building.
The badly damaged car ended up on its side after striking several large fenceposts a short distance up the trail.
RCMP Const. Ben Goodwin was placed under a medically induced coma to reduce brain swelling but has since regained consciousness.
The matter is being investigated by the province’s Serious Incident Response Team. On Monday, SIRT director Felix Cacchione told media the officer fired the fatal shots from the hood of the stolen vehicle after being struck by the driver, who had accelerated to a high rate of speed. The officer struck his head when the vehicle crashed.
Speight was sentenced on June 26 in Amherst by Judge Paul Scovil to a further 30 days in jail after being convicted of uttering threats to cause death to provincial court Judge Al Bégin, of Truro, who had previously refused to release him on bail.
Several other charges, including breach of probation, failure to comply with a court recognizance and intimidation of a justice system participant were dismissed at the time of his sentencing.
He was released from custody on July 30.
In May, Speight was sentenced in provincial court in Antigonish to eight months in jail after pleading guilty to possession of stolen property (an ATV), flight from police, driving while disqualified and eight counts of breaching court recognizances (seven of which were from Amherst). The eight-month sentence was reduced to three months after Speight was given credit time for spent in jail while on remand.
Last September, Speight was given a suspended sentence in Truro and was placed on probation for 18 months after pleading guilty to stealing a vehicle last February from a Pictou Road gas bar while the owner was paying for his fuel. He also pleaded guilty at that time to operating a vehicle in a dangerous manner and to operating a vehicle while his license was disqualified.
He was spotted a short time later on Robie Street in Lower Truro by officers on patrol. When they attempted to stop the vehicle, however, the driver left the area at a high rate of speed at which point police called off the pursuit. Speight was arrested by the RCMP a short time later in the area of Hwy. 311 in North River.
Speight’s criminal record also pre-dates those offences.
On Monday, Lenore Zann, the independent MLA for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River, posted the following comment on her Facebook pate.
“Extremely saddened to hear of this tragedy in Truro near my parents home – my condolences to the families & friends of both of the young men involved. And hoping that Constable Ben Goodwin recovers fully from the injuries he received. It appears he is now out of ICU and has regained consciousness after being in a medically-induced coma due to the head traumas he sustained after being run over by the young man in the stolen vehicle,” Zann said.
“Originally from Oxford, a new father with a young baby at home and a new member of the Bible Hill RCMP, his family will be wanting him back home as soon as possible.
“As MLA I wish him, his family and the RCMP my very best wishes for his speedy recovery.”