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High-speed rollover earns more jail time

Farbn Marvin Japow of Surrey sentenced to a further 10 months in jail and prohibited from driving for two years for drug-fuelled October 2022 crash
The woman was ejected from the car and found about 10 metres away.

A Surrey man was sentenced Tuesday to a further 10 months and 20 days in jail for a high-speed rollover on the outskirts of Prince George that left his then-girlfriend with serious and long-lasting injuries and then attempting a pair of carjackings to get away from police.

Farbn Marvin Japow, 21, was also prohibited from driving for two years once out of custody for the Oct. 15, 2022 escapade that began shortly after 3 p.m. at the Econo Lodge Motel at Victoria Street and Ninth Avenue where an onlooker called 911 to report a woman screaming for help and trying to get out of a car.

However, she remained inside and the car took off. A second person at Quebec Street and First Avenue reported it heading east at a high speed with a woman screaming from the passenger seat. About 15 minutes after the initial call, the rollover was reported at a construction site on Boundary Road and just east of Highway 97 South.

The woman was ejected from the car and found about 10 metres away. She was later airlifted to hospital in Vancouver with internal injuries and several broken bones, including to her spine, the outcome of which is expected to be long-lasting. 

Data extracted from the vehicle's onboard computer showed Japow had hit a speed of 177 km/h seconds before the crash.

The crash scene was also littered with an estimated $4,000 in $20 and $50 bills and a scale and a small amount of cocaine was found inside the car, which had been rented under the name of another person.

Japow initially attempted to steal a water truck at the scene, but the driver pulled him out of the cab. He then pulled a knife and attempted to take another vehicle at the scene before somehow ending up in the back seat of a third vehicle after its driver stopped to help. 

Japow first asked the unwitting driver to take him to hospital but got out back at the motel. When RCMP showed up, he was found with his beard shaved off and head partially shaved in an apparent attempt to hide his identity. 

He has remained in custody since then.

The court was told Japow hails from Surrey and had driven up to Prince George with the woman to "get away" following the recent deaths of his father and a grandmother. In a bad emotional state and addicted to opioids as a result of a back injury suffered during a collision when he was a boy, Japow was "high" at the time and had sought to get back to the motel to consume more drugs and prevent withdrawal symptoms, the court also heard.

As for the cash, it was suggested a relative provided part of the amount to Japow to pay for the couple's stay in Prince George. It was also suggested the cash was the result of the woman's successful eye lash extension business. However, the money remains subject to a civil forfeiture proceeding, the court was told.

Japow pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and assault.

A count of unlawful confinement was dropped after the woman refused to testify against him and asserted she was screaming as a way to distract Japow and only after he had attempted to help her out of the vehicle before deciding to take off. However, as a condition of a two-year probation also included in his sentence, Japow is prohibited from contacting the woman.

Prior to sentencing, Japow apologized for his actions and said he was sorry for what happened to the woman. It also appears he has cleaned up during the time he has been in custody where he is taking suboxone to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

In all, Japow was sentenced to 18 months in jail less credit of 7 months 10 days for time served prior to sentencing.

The sentence came largely in the form of a joint submission from Crown and defence counsels. However, the length of the driving prohibition was contested with defence counsel seeking 18 months and Crown arguing for two years. In the end, Provincial Court Judge Michael Brecknell sided with two years, noting the high speed and the consequences for the woman.