Ryan Jordan Gibson, the man who pleaded guilty to killing Brandon Thomas while driving impaired, will be sentenced May 12.

The 24-year-old Calgary man, along with Brandon’s friends and family, crowded into a Calgary courtroom April 16 for sentencing. But first, the court heard victim impact statements from those closest to the deceased Cochrane teenager.

Kim Thomas, Brandon’s mother, said about 50 victim impact statements were submitted to the court prior to sentencing, but Judge Karim Jivraj narrowed the list to 14.

“A lot of people wrote and showed their love for Brandon,” said Kim. “The judge listened to every word. I’m thankful for that.

“But when the judge first announced the sentencing in May, my initial reaction was, ‘Oh my God. No.’ But if the judge was happy or thought the joint submission was adequate, he would have sentenced (Gibson). And he didn’t.”

Brandon, who was 17 years old at the time, was killed in a head-on collision with Gibson’s truck on Dec. 6, 2012. Gibson was heading south on Highway 22 when he pulled into the northbound lane to pass two semi trucks. Remaining in the wrong lane, Gibson forced two vehicles into the ditch — injuring one person — before colliding with Brandon’s Subaru.

Based on breath test results, Gibson’s blood alcohol level was between 0.17 and 0.18 at the time of the crash. In January, Gibson pleaded guilty to driving over .08 causing death and driving over .08 causing bodily harm.

Both the Crown and defence lawyers are seeking a sentence of two years plus a day to be served in a federal prison. Following the victim impact statements, Jivraj heard from Gibson, who apologized to Brandon’s supporters.

“I couldn’t look at him,” said Kim. “He said he’s physically ill, that he’s going to speak in schools — isn’t that what people say when they kill someone?”

Meanwhile, Kim and Kayla Thomas, Brandon’s sister, continue their quest for harsher sentencing for impaired drivers through Families for Justice. So far, about 62,000 people have signed the petition.

“There has got to be something that changes,” said Kim.

Source: Cochrane Eagle


Last updated on: 2014-05-13 | Link to this post