A 22-year-old from Grande Prairie was sentenced Friday to four years in prison for a drunken crash that killed a man a month after he became engaged to be married.

In court Friday, Chris Lane Lindgren was also sentenced to a further year for a previous drunk-driving crash in 2011. He had not yet been charged for the first crime when he fatally injured 25-year-old Tyler Isbister on an Edmonton road in October 2013.

“We are a community. When someone drinks and drives, we all suffer, provincial court Judge Marilena Carminati said as she sentenced Lindgren.

In the early morning of Oct, 2, Isbister, his fiancée Katerina Masson and a friend were headed home in a taxi when the crash occurred near 107th Street and 121st Avenue. Their cab was struck head-on by a BMW driven by Lindgren, who drunkenly drove over a median into oncoming traffic. The impact sent both vehicles off the road.

Isbister died in hospital two days later. The taxi driver, a father of three, is still recovering from two fractured ribs, a broken wrist and internal injuries. Isbister’s fiancée and friend suffered lesser injuries.

Lindgren and his female passenger fled the crash on foot. Officers tracked the pair with a police dog to a convenience store 10 blocks away.

Lindgren only had a learner’s licence at the time, court heard.

“Mr. Lindgren chose to drive a motor vehicle after drinking and admitted to police he was even drinking while he was driving,” Crown prosecutor Tania Sarkar said.

The night of the crash, Isbister and Masson had attended an Oilers game. Later that night, they called a taxi as they left a downtown bar. In court, Isbister’s mother held the torn Oilers jersey he was wearing that night.

“We were as close as a mother and child could be,” Rebecca Isbister told court. “On Oct. 2, our lives changed forever and our hell began.”

In victim impact statements, Isbister’s family told court he was an organ donor and six lives were saved after he died.

Isbister proposed to Masson four weeks before he was killed. Before he popped the question, he asked her family for permission. Afterward, he called relatives himself to make sure they heard the news directly from him.

Some of the family and friends that packed the courtroom wore blue T-shirts with a picture of a smiling Isbister above the words “Forever in our Hearts.”

In court, Lindgren apologized to the Isbister family.

“There’s not enough words in the English language to express the remorse I feel. Not a day goes by that I don’t contemplate the outcomes of the better decisions I wish I’d made.”

Lindgren pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, impaired driving causing death and three counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. He also pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing bodily harm for the 2011 crash. In that incident, he rolled a jeep near Grande Prairie and a female passenger was ejected.

Source: The Edmonton Journal


Last updated on: 2014-02-02 | Link to this post