A former draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had a brief stint with the Winnipeg Goldeyes, has been sentenced to two years of house arrest after a traffic stop ended with police chasing him onto a frozen lake and seizing a sawed-off shotgun.
David Allan Parker, 39, pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm, breaching a weapons prohibition order and assault in connection to his Jan. 1, 2020, arrest in Gimli.
Parker, who court was told struggled with drugs in the years after his baseball career slipped away, has shown “determination in staying sober,” stabilized his life and excelled at work since his arrest, said Queen’s Bench Justice Colleen Suche in a written ruling released earlier this month.
A three-year prison sentence is the accepted minimum sentence for offences involving firearms connected to criminal activity, Suche said. The Crown had recommended Suche sentence Parker to 42 months in prison.
“I am satisfied that this is a case where a sentence much less than the usual is justified,” Suche said.
RCMP in Gimli had received a tip Parker might be driving while high on drugs and in possession of a gun when they tried to pull his car over and he ran into a local bar. Parker stashed a satchel containing a sawed-off shotgun under a pool table before running out the back door and onto Lake Winnipeg, where a number of people were ice fishing.
Parker assaulted an ice fisher while trying to steal his pickup truck and then attempted to steal a second vehicle when police arrested him.
Parker told court he had been on a six-day drug binge and sleeping in his car, living in fear of drug dealers whom he owed money. He said a friend offered him the gun for protection and he took it, not intending to use it.
Parker was born in Winnipeg and drafted as a pitcher in the 31st round by the Dodgers just after he left Sisler High School in 2001. He decided to go to Eastern Oklahoma Community College instead. He re-entered the draft the following year and was selected again by Los Angeles, this time in the 43rd round.
Parker spent several successful years in minor-league baseball but was cut in 2005 while trying out for the Goldeyes after falling victim to a numbers game in terms of their required rookie quota.
A subsequent assault conviction arising from a bar fight ended Parker’s baseball career. In the years that followed, he accumulated convictions for motor vehicle theft, drug possession, and multiple breaches of court orders. In 2011, Parker pleaded guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking and was sentenced to two years in custody.
“All of these (offences) occurred during periods when his addiction was out of control,” Suche said.
Since his arrest, Parker has undergone treatment for his addiction and “demonstrated a prolonged period of rehabilitation,” Suche said.
“He has earned the respect of many people, which is demonstrated by the numerous letters of support filed at the sentencing hearing, most of which specifically refer to the change they have seen in him,” she said.
Parker received credit for time served, reducing his conditional sentence to 21 months. The judge ordered that he serve an additional three years of supervised probation and prohibited him from possessing weapons for life.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.