Ex-gangster jailed five months for road rage

'It wasn't right and I accept responsibility and apologize'

Former gang member Thomas Crawford was sentenced to five months in prison Thursday for a road rage incident.

But Crawford faces far more serious time when he will be sentenced for kidnapping and extortion Nov. 8 in Vancouver.

The incident between Crawford, who once operated here as a member of the Independent Soldiers gang, and a NavCanada employee happened May 15, 2011.

Crawford pleaded guilty to assault. A charge of dangerous driving was dropped.

"Road rage is the kind of violence that can happen to anyone," said provincial court judge Stella Frame. "It shouldn't be tolerated."

Crown lawyer Tim Livingston said James Forbes was on his way to work crossing the Halston Bridge in his Ford truck when a sedan passed him at higher speed in the right lane.

Forbes laid on his horn when Crawford cut him off.

Crawford replied with a gesture and then began to follow Forbes, eventually forcing him to stop en route to the airport. Crawford tried to punch Forbes through the truck window and screamed obscenities.

At that point Forbes drove off with Crawford again in pursuit.

Witnesses saw Forbes drive to the parking lot at the airport, when Crawford again got out to confront him.

Livingston said Crawford punched at Forbes as he backed up and fended off the attack.

Eventually Crawford took Forbes' truck keys, something the driver never recovered.

"I'd like to apologize to the court and Mr. Forbes for losing my temper," Crawford told Frame. "It wasn't right and I accept responsibility and apologize."

Defence lawyer Graham Kay said the 32-year-old, who has renounced his gang ties publicly, faces serious jail time.

Crawford was charged with drug and gun offences in Kamloops in March 2007 after he sold an undercover RCMP officer four ounces of cocaine and a .357-magnum handgun for $5,800.

When the transactions were negotiated, Crawford flashed the officer his Independent Soldier tattoos and told him he could get him anything he wanted.

During sentencing in 2009, when he received two years in prison, Crawford told the judge he'd renounced the gang and covered his gang tattoos.

In May this year, Crawford was found guilty of kidnapping and extortion of a Vancouver man, part of a bungled money laundering scheme.

Despite his disavowal of gangs, Kay said Crawford was attacked twice while at KRCC, requiring brief hospitalization.

"The past is catching up to Mr. Crawford," Kay said.

The 32-year-old Metis man is biological father to two children and legal father of a third. Kay said his children have been in and out of care with the Ministry of Children and Families.

He said Crawford has attempted to maintain close contact with his children via telephone.

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