Calgary man charged in deadly hit and run has 2 stolen vehicle convictions

Calgary man charged in deadly hit and run has 2 stolen vehicle convictions

The Calgary man charged in connection with the deadly hit and run that left a 15-year-old Manitoba boy dead Saturday night had previously been convicted of possessing stolen vehicles.

Alberta court records obtained by CBC News show Justin Joseph Little, 29, has had many run-ins with police in Calgary and its neighbouring communities. His Alberta crimes include convictions for drugs, violence and being in possession of two stolen vehicles.

“It sounds like this is nothing new to him. It’s just been a chronic thing and it’s unfortunate that this wasn’t, you know, picked up before,” said John Harris, the father of Ben Harris who was killed Saturday. “He’s done the same thing over and over again and now it’s led to a death.”

The crash happened Friday night, when two 15-year-old boys were riding their bikes on the shoulder of Donald Road near Highway 9 in the rural municipality of St. Andrews. 2:41

Little is facing 14 charges after allegedly driving a stolen truck and hitting Harris and a friend while riding their bicycles, just two minutes from the Harris family’s home in St. Andrews, Man. The boys were on their way to a sleepover.

They were hit so hard they were thrown into the ditch, where Ben was left to die.

RCMP have charged Little with impaired driving causing death and allege he was high on drugs at the time of the crash.

He’s charged with failing to remain at the scene of an accident and being in possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000. None of the charges have been proven in court and he is presumed innocent. 

Ben Harris, 15, died Friday night when he was struck by an impaired driver while biking home from a sleepover. (Supplied by family)

The fatal crash happened just before midnight and has left St. Andrews, a tight-knit bedroom community just north of Winnipeg, devastated.

‘This can’t be framed as an accident’

John and his wife Brenda are now planning their son’s funeral, who they are remembering as a talented guitar player.

“We keep thinking he’s going to come home,” wept Brenda. 

The couple has vowed to attend every court appearance Little has. They showed up early Monday to the Winnipeg Law Courts hoping to get a glimpse of Little but they left without seeing him due to an administration issue.

“This can’t be framed as an accident in any way. These are all decisions. To steal a car, to drive under the influence, just to run these boys down and … not to take any responsibility and call an ambulance or do anything,” said John on Monday.

Ben’s father, John Harris, holds a photo of them together. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC )

Court records in Calgary show over a three-year period in southern Alberta, Little was arrested and charged no less than five times.

In 2015, he was convicted of heroine and crack cocaine possession after being caught with drugs in Calgary and Tsuu T’ina Nation, southeast of the city.

Over a 12-month period beginning in 2014, he was found guilty of domestic assault and assault causing bodily harm. He also had two convictions for possession of stolen vehicles.

As of June 2015, Little had eight months left to serve for his various crimes. He was listed as having no fixed address.

A stolen truck is seen smashed up in St. Andrews Saturday night shortly after the deadly hit and run. (Submitted by Brent Polson)

In Manitoba, Little also had run-ins with police. Court records show he was charged with four counts of failing to comply with a recognizance for an offence in April of this year. Those charges were stayed and he was given a curfew and no contact order.

He was also charged with two counts of failing to comply with a recognizance for an offence in November 2016 and served 11 days in jail. He was given a no-contact order for the first count and a peace bond of $500 for the second charge.

John said he wanted to thank RCMP officers for finding Little after he fled the crash site.

“Thank God they found him,” he said.

Published at Tue, 14 Aug 2018 06:00:00 -0400