A driver has been sentenced in provincial court for the Country Club Centre rampage.
It has been more than eight months since a Nanaimo man ran his truck into Country Club Centre in Nanaimo multiple times and while the mall appears to be back to normal, work to fix the damage is still happening.
“There are a few cosmetic issues to take care of, a little bit of stucco here and there. Some of the tenants, the bank and Urban Barn have a little bit of work to do on the inside of their spaces still,” said Dave Mills, Country Club Centre’s Manager.
In an agreed statement of facts, the court heard on Jan. 6, 37-year-old Joshua Schaeffer had just been arguing with his younger brother who he dropped off at the Shoppers Drug Mart in the shopping centre.
Schaeffer rammed Shoppers Drug Mart then reversed into a car. He then smashed into another building before narrowly missing a person, hitting another car and then ramming into the mall again.
“My heart was racing quite a lot cause I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It’s like out of a movie,” said Bjorn Samson, a witness who recorded video of the final moments.
On Sept. 28, Schaeffer pleaded guilty to dangerous driving for this incident and another on 7th Street in June 2018. The judge sentenced Schaeffer, who’s been in jail since the Country Club Centre rampage, to another 499 days in jail after factoring in time-served. It will be followed by two years of probation and a three-year driving prohibition.
Schaeffer has a prior criminal record with a previous conviction of dangerous driving.
He was also ordered to pay nearly $960 in restitution to one of the people whose car he struck.
When given the chance to address the court Schaeffer said “I want to apologize for my actions. I think about it every day. It tears me up the destruction that I caused. I apologize to everybody for what I’ve done.”
“It’s great that he’s taken responsibility for it. Glad that the court system is working through its system. It’s a relief for us in the sense that it’s not something that we have to concern ourselves with,” said Mills.
Judge Brian Harvey said the driving was shocking and it’s a miracle Schaeffer didn’t injure or kill anybody else.
One of Schaeffer’s conditions of bail, once he’s released from jail, will be to stay away from Country Club Centre.