Edmonton driver pleads guilty to killing taxi passenger while high on 'toxic' level of crystal meth

by Tony Blais

An Edmonton man admitted Wednesday to killing a woman and injuring three other people when he T boned a taxi while driving high on crystal methamphetamine and fleeing police.

James Miller Laney, 30, pleaded guilty in provincial court to flight from police causing death, three counts of flight from police causing bodily harm, two counts of hit and run, and impaired driving.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Miller Laney was addicted to methamphetamine at the time of the deadly May 22, 2015, collision. He had been hired by Corrine Burnett to drive her around that night in his recently acquired 1992 BMW sedan.

After his arrest, Miller Laney told police he had been awake for about four days and had been using meth, neglecting to eat and playing video games all night. He said he had started getting sleepy while driving his friend around and she supplied him with some meth that he smoked in a pipe after pulling over.

Miller Laney told police at the time he was still sleepy and the next thing he remembered was sitting on a curb with the police and paramedics yelling at him.

Miller Laney attracted police attention after driving erratically and an officer noted the BMW did not appear to be registered. The officer activated his emergency lights and attempted to pull Miller Laney over near 100 Avenue and 178 Street, but he "accelerated dramatically away."

The officer deactivated his emergency lights shortly after, radioed in that he was not pursuing the BMW and continued to follow the car.

The officer noted Miller Laney went through one red light at about 120 km/h, and then collided with the taxi after speeding through a second red light at the intersection of 100 Avenue and 170 Street.

Miller Laney then struck another car in a restaurant parking lot and fled on foot after looking toward the officer who had parked hood to hood with the BMW.

The officer pursued Miller Laney on foot until losing him. He was found a short time later hiding under a tree and was arrested./p>

Blood taken from Miller Laney in hospital revealed he had a "toxic" amount of methamphetamine in his system.

Mohamed Siddiqi was driving the Barrel taxi Miller Laney hit. The taxi driver had two passengers, Vivian Rank and Laura Sager. Rank was in the back seat and Sager in the front.

Rank, 51, died from her injuries. Siddiqi and Sager suffered back, shoulder and neck injuries. Burnett suffered a broken shoulder and lacerations to her right eye and forehead.

Miller Laney was ordered released from custody Wednesday on $500 cash bail so he could take in house treatment at the Bonnyville Rehabilitation Centre. He is scheduled to be back in court June 6 to set a date for a sentencing hearing.