May 29, 2014 - DEADLY DRUNK DRIVER LOSES APPEAL; BACK TO PRISON [Robert Zastrow]

Alberta’s highest court has dismissed a Sherwood Park electrician’s appeal for killing one man and badly injuring another while driving drunk in his muscle car.

And, as a result, Rodney Ivan Flight, 48, was ordered to turn himself in to the RCMP within 72 hours.

Flight – who was handed a five-year prison term in April 2013 after earlier being convicted of impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm – had been granted bail pending his conviction appeal.

In a decision released Thursday, the Court of Appeal of Alberta ruled the trial judge had been correct when she admitted expert toxicological evidence that extrapolated how drunk Flight was at the time of the 2009 collision.

As well, the three-judge appeal panel found the trial judge was right to have concluded Flight’s impairment was a contributing cause of the deadly crash and that his right to legal advice was not breached.

The panel also ruled that the RCMP officer who demanded a roadside breathalyzer from Flight had reasonable and probable grounds to make the demand and the trial judge had been wrong to conclude otherwise.

However, it was a moot point as the trial judge had admitted the breathalyzer results as evidence anyway after ruling that, despite the Charter breach, it would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

The appeal’s dismissal was good news for Gloria Zastrow, the widow of the deceased victim, Robert Zastrow.

“I am very pleased with the results,” said Gloria, praising the efforts of the police and the prosecutor. “I am very happy and relieved that this part of the process is over.”

Flight is still appealing his five-year sentence and his eight-year driving ban.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast ruled Flight had a blood-alcohol level of between .099 and .147 when he caused a June 20, 2009, collision near Alberta Beach by “deliberately” over-accelerating his “extremely powerful” 2008 Corvette, causing the rear wheels to spin and the car to fishtail, and resulting in it crossing the centre line and hitting an oncoming car driven by Zastrow, 67.

The Onoway senior was declared dead at the scene and his brother, Jeffrey Zastrow, then 54, was airlifted to hospital with a fractured sternum and three broken ribs.

Court heard Flight had admitted drinking beer while playing in a golf tournament near Alberta Beach, which is 70 km west of Edmonton, and then, after a banquet, decided to go for a ride in the area in his Corvette.

Flight told police that after seeing the oncoming Buick, he “stepped on it” as the section of Range Road 32 was straight and then said the tires spun and he lost control.

Expert witnesses testified Flight was going about 77 kmh in the 50 kmh zone just before the 7:30 p.m. crash.

Court also heard that Flight had two prior drunk-driving convictions and several speeding citations.​

Source: The Edmonton Sun

 

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Last updated on: 2014-06-14 | Link to this post