Article by: By TRACY MCLAUGHLIN, SPECIAL TO SUN MEDIA
Barrie – 90 days for death of cop
BARRIE — Six years after the death of South Simcoe police officer Alan Kuzmich, an Innisfil man who struck and killed him during a high-speed chase was sent to jail for 90 days for dangerous driving yesterday.
James Trakas, 43, will be allowed to serve his sentence on weekends and is banned from driving for one year.
“High-speed chases are a plague in society triggered by testosterone, alcohol and other factors,” Justice John McIsaac said.
Court heard how Trakas jumped into his Dodge Durango SUV in pursuit of two men who allegedly stole his motorcycle.
One man pretended to take the bike for a test drive and as Trakas waited for him to return, another man, who was hiding under the dash of the truck that the first man came in, suddenly popped into the driver’s seat and took off.
The chase continued through streets and highways at up to 170 km/h.
Some 40 km into the chase, Trakas struck and killed Kuzmich, who was trying to deploy a spike belt on a darkened area of Hwy. 11 north of Bradford to stop the thieves.
“Mr. Trakas’ toy could have easily been replaced without this dangerous chase,” the judge said. “He showed a wanton and reckless disregard for the lives and safety of others.”
While the jury had the option of finding Trakas guilty of dangerous driving causing death, the jury found him not guilty of that offence after hearing that the officer was on the road and that police officers are trained not to go onto the road when deploying spike belts.
Outside of court, South Simcoe Police Chief Bruce Davis said he was disappointed with the verdict and the sentence and that he will ask for an appeal.
“We are not happy with the outcome,” Davis said.
“Const. Kuzmich risked his life in the line of duty. This is a tragedy that should never have happened.”