TERRACE Search and Rescue was involved in the Nov. 2014 search along the Skeena River for Red Deer resident Dustin Steele.

Man sentenced for lying to Terrace RCMP

Incident revolved around disappearance of Red Deer man in Skeena River

ONE OF two men who lied to police following the death of another in the Skeena River in 2014 will not have a criminal record provided he completes conditions of a sentenced handed down by a provincial court judge.

Nathan Joseph Heit, 27, of Kitimat was one of three men who drove a truck belonging to Heit into the Skeena in the Copper River flats area east of Terrace on Nov. 1.

He and Jesse Fehr managed to get back to shore but Dustin Steele from Red Deer, Alberta was last seen in the back of the truck as it floated down the river.

Heit and Fehr at first told police the trio had parked the truck and left it running whereupon three men, unknown to them, then drove it into the river.

RCMP officers, skeptical of the story provided them, questioned Heit and Fehr and they eventually admitted that their version of events was untrue.

Heit and Fehr were then charged with obstructing a peace officer, attempting to obstruct justice and making false and misleading statements to police officers.

Heit, who was found remorseful for his actions by provincial court judge Terence Wright, was sentenced to a conditional discharge with probation for 18 months and 30 hours of community work service within the first 12 months of his probation.

Should Heit complete his sentence satisfactorily he won’t have a criminal record.

“I think it’s clear [Heit is of] good character and has many positive characteristics and this is an aberration in his usual behaviour,” said Wright, noting that Heit had no prior criminal record.

“I find a conditional discharge is appropriate in this particular case. It is in Mr. Heit’s interest and not contrary to the public interest.”

Search and rescue volunteers from Terrace Search and Rescue and individuals went out for days afterward looking for Steele.

Searchers did find the truck submerged in the river on Nov. 4, but bad weather and the river’s current prevented its recovery until the morning of Nov. 7.

In December 2014 searchers returned to look on the shoreline and shallow water areas and found a child seat, and boot believed to have come from the truck, said Terrace Search and Rescue members at that time.

In April 2015, searchers checked out a log jam downriver from where the vehicle went into the water but did not find Steele’s body.

In a statement read to court, Steele’s father Dwayne said the loss of his son Dustin affected every aspect of the lives of him and his family.

He said the family would never have any closure because they would never be able to lay Dustin’s body to rest, the court heard.

“The only thing he wants is for those boys to understand what they did,” said Wright, reading from the father’s comments to the pre-sentence report writer.

“And that they never gave Dustin a fighting chance.”

Fehr is due in provincial court here in November for the final disposition of his charges.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Annual Heritage Day celebration highlights Terrace history, culture

Over 30 vendors displayed various vintage and historic items from the city’s past on Feb.17 in the Sportsplex Banquet Room.

Terrace River Kings win playoffs

Defeating Williams Lake Stampeders, the team now heads to the Coy Cup for the fourth year in a row

First annual Valentines Day Memorial Walk to honor missing and murdered Indigenous people held in Terrace

Mayor Carol Leclerc and RCMP Cst. Angela Rabut joined members of the Radek family and walkers on Feb. 14 from the Chill Soda Shop on Highway 16 to the Tempo Gas Station.

Most Highway 16 closures for avalanches in years after multiple dumps of snow

Highway 16 has had four closures between Terrace and Prince Rupert due to 35 mile avalanche area

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

Most Read