A man who sped his truck through a red light and rammed a RCMP cruiser, killing the officer inside, had a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit, the Crown said Wednesday.

Crown attorney Tim Stokes told Kenneth Fenton’s sentencing hearing the man’s truck was estimated to be going as fast as 90 kilometres an hour in a 50-kilometre zone when it entered the intersection and slammed into Const. Sarah Beckett’s vehicle in April 2016.

Stokes told the court, Fenton, 29, had been drinking beer and was distraught over the recent suicide of a friend. He refused to provide a breath or blood sample, but police obtained a warrant within an hour of the crash to analyze blood taken from Fenton while he was at the hospital, the court heard.

Fenton’s blood-alcohol reading was .287 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, Stokes said. The legal blood-alcohol limit is .08.

The Crown is seeking a sentence of between three and five years in prison. Defence lawyer Dale Marshall said an appropriate sentence would be three years in prison.

Stokes said the court must consider Fenton’s level of impairment and vehicle speed in the sentence.

“He was quite oblivious to the fact he was entering an intersection where the light was red,” he said.

Marshall said Fenton pleaded guilty almost immediately and will address the court to express his remorse.

Fenton’s sentencing hearing was expected to be completed Wednesday, but it was adjourned late Wednesday until July 6 to set another date to for the hearing to continue.

At the time of the crash, Fenton’s truck was being followed by another RCMP vehicle after that officer noticed the tail lights were out, Stokes said.

He described the crash as an explosion of glass and smoke to a full courtroom in Colwood, B.C., as people sitting in the gallery held tissues and wiped away tears.

Stokes said the truck hit Beckett’s vehicle on the driver side and an autopsy determined Beckett’s death was caused by blunt force trauma.

He said a witness at the accident scene reported hearing Fenton say “one stupid decision.”

Fenton pleaded guilty last month to charges of impaired driving and dangerous driving causing the death of Beckett, a mother of two boys who had recently returned to the West Shore RCMP detachment from maternity leave.

Beckett’s husband, Brad Aschenbrenner, read his victim impact statement to the court.

His hands shook and his voice was low and cracked at times when he told the court about losing the love of his life and the mother of their young sons, Lucas and Emmett.

The hardest thing after his wife’s death was telling six-year-old Lucas “mommy wasn’t coming home,” Aschenbrenner said.

His youngest son was two years old when his mother died and “will have no memory of her at all,” he added.

He said the family tries to celebrate Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving, but “there’s always the undercurrent of sadness and loss.”

He has not been able to work, and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, he said.

Aschenbrenner said he left his family in Idaho to come to Canada to be with Beckett. He is scheduled to get his Canadian citizenship at a ceremony on Friday.

In a written victim impact statement submitted to the court, Beckett’s mother, Gurcharn Beckett said she is haunted by her daughter’s cruel and sudden death.

“I wonder did she see death rushing at her? Did she have a moment?”

Source: National Post



Last updated on: 2017-07-25 | Link to this post