People in Saskatchewan aren’t naïve to the dangers of drinking and driving, but it’s still shocking for the community to hear about a drunk driving crash like the one that happened in Saskatoon back in December of 2014. That’s when Justin Knackstedt was run down by drunk driver Blaine Taypotat, and although he was convicted and sentenced to 9 ½ years, Taypotat is now asking for a reduced sentence.
The crash happened around 5:30 pm near Saskatoon. Knackstedt, a Saskatchewan Conservation Officer, was driving with a passenger when he stopped at a traffic crash. They offered to help divert traffic around the crash, and they did so by assisting the RCMP with a second barricade to divert vehicles.
Taypotat approached the first barricade manned by RCMP. He was driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .25, and he decided to speed through the barricade and past all of the cars parked on the side of the road.
While speeding, Taypotat approached the second barricade and crashed into Knackstedt as he stood and directed traffic. According to witnesses, he hit Knackstedt at high speed, not applying his brakes to slow down at all.
Although his lawyer argued during trial that Taypotat was brought up in a violent alcoholic environment and that upbringing should be considered during sentencing, he was given 9 ½ years in prison for killing Knackstedt. That length of prison time is in keeping with other sentences in Canada, including that of Marco Muzzo for his Ontario crash.
But Taypotat appealed that sentence, requesting less jail time for the drunk driving crash. He appealed to the court to lower his sentence to 8 years, and although he has expressed remorse and apologized for his actions throughout his trial and appeal, he was rejected by the court.
It’s a Saskatchewan tragedy on all counts, from the driver who is spending years of his life in prison to Justin Knackstedt, who was only lending a helping hand. The really sad thing is that this isn’t the first drunk driving crash to claim a life in Saskatchewan, and if people there continue to drink and drive, it won’t be the last.