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Calgary man slapped with deadly street racing charges from West Kelowna

Thursday, April 8th, 2010 | 9:22 am

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By Joe Fries

Almost a year after an alleged street race in West Kelowna turned deadly, a Calgary man is now facing possible life imprisonment.

Michael Bell, 51, is alleged to have been behind the wheel of a Porsche while in a street race with another man driving a BMW along Boucherie Road in the early afternoon on April 10, 2009.

According to reports from the time, the BWM lost control near Pritchard Drive, went off the road and flipped numerous times, killing the driver and sending his three passengers to hospital.

Witnesses had apparently seen the two cars moving at a fast clip on a road where the speed limit was 60 kilometres per hour.

Bell has now been charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm and criminal negligence causing death, both of which fall under a special section of the Criminal Code that specifically mentions street racing. He faces an additional count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

His first appearance in Kelowna provincial court this week was rescheduled twice, and the matter has now been put over to May 13.

While street racing charges have been relatively rare since legislation enabled them in late 2006, “In a case like this, with this kind of evidence, it wouldn’t be an unusual conclusion,” said Kelowna RCMP spokesman Const. Steve Holmes.

He also said it’s not unusual for serious driving offences to take some time getting into court. Police have to collate witness statements with reports from the coroner, investigators and an accident reconstructionist, then deal with any follow-ups from the Crown, Holmes explained.

“Orchestrating an entire concert of information can take many months.”

Calgary man slapped with deadly street racing charges from West Kelowna4.554

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