One of the biggest comments from anti-drunk driving advocates in Canada is that the jail sentences for drunk drivers who kill aren’t long enough. Although you occasionally see an offender receive a sentence of ten years, as in the case of Marco Muzzo of Ontario or the Saskatchewan offender who killed a family of four, more often than not you’ll find a sentence for drunk drivers for five years, two years, or even less.
But one British Columbia man isn’t getting off easily for his own drunk driving crash. It happened when he was driving drunk down the Sea to Sky highway and crashed into and killed two cyclists just outside of Pemberton, BC. He also killed his own passenger and friend.
This driver was severely intoxicated at the time of the crash, coming in at three times the legal limit after drinking at a friend’s funeral. Although the blood tests were clear that he was intoxicated, because of the details of the court case the battle between defense and prosecution was intense. Although the defendant made the decision to please guilty to three counts of impaired driving causing death, his lawyer asked that he only receive four years in prison. The prosecution asked for twelve years.
At the end of the case, he was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison, a significant amount time. He’ll also be banned from driving for a period of fifteen years once he’s out of prison, and if he does regain his driver’s license, he’ll most likely be required to drive with an ignition interlock device.
There may have been debate over how harsh British Columbia impaired driving laws are, but they are designed specifically to crack down on these offenders and make people think before they drink and drive. It’s too late to save the people this man killed, but the combination of this sentence for drunk drivers and strict laws could be what British Columbia needs to prevent such a horrific tragedy from happening again.