Ali Montoya has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison after a drunk-driving crash took the lives of a taxi driver and passenger in 2015.

Montoya, who was 20 at the time, will receive pre-trial custody credit of 45 days and the sentence includes a five-year ban on driving.

Taxi driver Amritpal Kharbanda, 46, and his passenger, Jillian Lavallee, 25, died in May 2015 after Montoya, who was drunk, ran a red light and slammed his Cadillac Escalade into the cab.

Both Amritpal Kharbanda, 46, and Jillian Lavallee, 25, were killed when an alleged drunk driver crashed into the taxi the two were in on May 2, 2015.

He was driving 123 km/h two-and-a-half seconds before running a red light on Macleod Trail and 12th Avenue S.E. The red light camera clocked him at 98 km/h right before he hit a small car, which then struck the taxi. Montoya's blood alcohol level at the time was between 0.1 and 0.13.

Montoya pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

He was dressed in a black jacket and white shirt at the sentencing Friday. He sat with his head down, at times crying and appearing to remove his glasses to wipe away tears on his shirt collars.

Harpreet Kharbanda, wife of Amritpal, said sentencing laws need to be changed.

Kharbanda's wife, Harpreet, says laws should be in place to discourage drinking and driving.

"We really need to have good sentencing so that these things should not happen again and again," she said.

"We have to get some strict rules so that this should not happen and people should think, if there is more penalty or punishment for them, whether they want to go behind the wheel while they are drinking."

Lavallee's parents, Brenda and Dan, are also disappointed in the sentence, but believe changes need to be citizen driven.

Brenda and Dan Lavallee, Jillian's parents, say changes need to be driven by the public to be effective.

"It doesn't feel like it's an adequate sentence," Dan said.

"But on the other hand, we have come to the view that there has to be more done at the front end to prevent these things. I actually don't think whether it was four or fourteen [years] it makes much difference. It doesn't change our lives at all, it doesn't change our loss. Having laws put in place that actually physically prevent people from driving if you are drinking, that is what I think needs to happen."

Brenda said the timing of the sentence is difficult.

"We are glad that it is over," she said.

"We are going into the Christmas season and Jillian loved Christmas."

Source: CBC News


Last updated on: 2016-12-19 | Link to this post