RCMP put brakes on notorious Hwy. 97 driver

RCMP put brakes on notorious Hwy. 97 driver

‘Okanagan Bob’ slapped with licence suspension, hefty fines

A notorious high-risk driver known as “Okanagan Bob” on YouTube was served an eight-month licence suspension on Sept. 17, after clocking in 45 kilometres over the speed limit on Highway 97 between the Lake Country area and Vernon.

“If you drive like a maniac, you need to expect to be apprehended,” Central Okanagan Traffic Services Sgt. Bryce Petersen said.

Okanagan Bob first came to public and police attention three years ago after dash-cam videos were posted to YouTube. In December 2018, more complaints came forward about Okanagan Bob’s erratic and aggressive driving.

Police put the brakes on Okanagan Bob on Dec. 6, 2018. He was issued a ticket, his vehicle was impounded for seven days and he was issued a Level 1 vehicle inspection notice removing the Dodge pickup truck from the road

But it’s clear Okanagan Bob didn’t learn his lesson, Traffic Services said in a release.

In late August, Central Okanagan Traffic Services (COTS) started hearing similar complaints about a white Dodge pickup truck; excessive speeding, tailgating, aggressive driving and abrupt lane changes.

“This is the second time we have been able to apprehend him,” Sgt. Petersen said.

Sgt. Petersen said members of his team were able to follow Okanagan Bob in unmarked vehicles and witness some of the erratic driving behaviour first hand.

“Officers witnessed him almost push vehicles off the road,” Sgt. Petersen said.

Over a three-day period, members of COTS observed Okanagan Bob’s daily commute between Lake Country and Vernon and on Aug. 29, 2019, he was stopped once again and issued a number of tickets.

He was issued two counts of excessive speeding, drive without due care and drive without consideration. Excessive speeding comes with a minimum of $386 fine and three demerit points; drive without due care rings in at $368 and six points; and the final charge comes with a $196 fine and six points. In addition, RCMP noted his vehicle was impounded for 30 days—as it was the second time Okanagan Bob’s truck was impounded.

Sgt. Petersen said excessive speeding—41 kilometres or more over the speed limit—results in an automatic seven-day impound. Multiple incidents results in a longer impound period.

“This kind of aggressive driving behaviour not only endangers innocent motorists, but it is completely unacceptable,” BC RCMP Traffic Services Cpl. Mike Halskov said. “The actions of this driver could have easily resulted in a catastrophic fatal collision.”

“My perspective is simple: we need to have safe roads and safe streets within our communities and on our highways,” Sgt. Petersen said.

Sgt. Petersen said excessive speeding is more common on the Connector than it is on Highway 97, but speeding is an issue.

“People speed more than they should (on Hwy. 97),” he said. “Especially on days like today when roads are wet and snow is coming.”

But for now, there is one less high-risk driver on the highway.

“That’s the whole purpose,” Sgt. Petersen said. “The general population wants that from the policing provided. We want to be safe in our homes and we want to be safe on our streets.”

“We want to be able to get to work and go home at the end of the day.”

Okanagan Bob’s true identity has not been released.

READ MORE: 2,500 Vernon residents remain without power after pole catches fire

READ MORE: Body of missing woman found in Okanagan


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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