Driver had suspended licence; police seek more witnesses

The 21-year-old man killed in a car crash Sunday after he fled from police in Abbotsford was driving on a suspended licence.

The 21-year-old man killed in a car crash Sunday after he fled from police in Abbotsford was driving on a suspended licence.

Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said Robbie Minler was given a 90-day immediate roadside prohibition on Jan. 29 in Abbotsford after failing a roadside breath test.

It was not the first driving suspension for the young man. Online provincial court records show that Minler pleaded guilty in July 2009 to driving while his licence was suspended and was given a one-year driving prohibition.

The records do not show, nor could MacDonald find, details of why Minler’s licence had initially been suspended. This is likely because he was under the age of 18 at the time, and the information would be protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The “driving while suspended” offence occurred in August 2008 at the same time Minler was charged with trafficking in a controlled substance, to which he pleaded guilty and was given a 12-month conditional sentence.

MacDonald said Minler was pulled over in a vehicle and was found with crack cocaine, heroin, and a couple of cellphones, as part of a dial-a-dope bust.

He was charged in July 2010 with breaching his conditional sentence. MacDonald said Minler was to abide by conditions that included no alcohol, no cellphones and a curfew, but police encountered him and others after midnight in the 32400 block of Haida Drive.

Meanwhile, MacDonald said that although police have heard from a number of witnesses, they are asking for those who have not yet come forward to contact them.

“What has come to our attention is that there might have been 20 civilian witnesses who were at or around the scene (of the crash),” he said.

As well, police are asking for information from anyone who saw Minler on the evening of the incident – Saturday, March 5 – or observed him driving a 1992 Honda Civic, which was registered in his name, anywhere from his point of departure in Langley to the crash site in Abbotsford.

Abbotsford Police pulled Minler over on Sunday, March 6 just after midnight in a church parking lot at the corner of Gladwin and Maclure roads. They had been alerted by freeway police that a suspected drunk driver was headed east along Highway 1 and was destined for Abbotsford.

Minler fled the scene, headed south on Gladwin Road and then east on George Ferguson Way. He was not pursued by police.

About one kilometre down the road, he hit a light post, power pole and building on the south side of the road, just east of McCallum.

He died on the scene, the lone occupant of the vehicle.

Toxicology reports, which are expected to take at least a month, will determine whether he was impaired at the time.