Car plowed into motorcyclist south of Calgary, killing him

Cathy Struck was braced for the court to mete out what she believes was a light sentence to a 28-year-old man who was drunk and speeding when he plowed into the back of her husband Wilf's motorcycle south of Calgary, killing him, more than two years ago.

So it didn't come as a surprise to the Red Lodge, Mont., woman when Court of Queen's Bench Justice Bryan Mahoney sentenced Anthony Barrett to 18 months in jail, followed by another 18 months probation and a four-year driving ban for impaired driving.

Mahoney had just accepted a joint submission offered by Crown prosecutor Darren Maloney and defence lawyer Alain Hepner, following the lawyers' extensive negotiations.

"There's a lot of anger there, but I don't want my children and me to dwell on anger," Cathy Struck said outside court, flanked by daughters Claire, 16, and Victoria, 15. "We know (the judge) can't make it better. So we just keep living like Wilf would want us to live.

"And our hope and prayer is he (Barrett) doesn't reoffend and that he has learned never, ever get behind a wheel in anger and impaired."

Cathy said she now believes Barrett, after an apology in court before sentencing, is remorseful. But shortly after the devastating crash on Highway 2 about 10 kilometres north of Nanton, she was not so sure.

"My concern at one point, I got an email through his lawyer, when we had (Barrett's) car impounded shortly after it happened," she said. "He asked for his stereo back. It threw me ... like, don't do that. I wrote back and said, 'you can have your stereo when we get our husband and father back.' "

Earlier, Maloney told court in reading an agreed statement of facts that Wilf Struck's southbound BMW motorcycle was hit from behind by Barrett's northbound Honda Prelude travelling at what an accident reconstructionist determined was 168 kilometres per hour at point of impact. Witnesses said the Honda had been driving at high speeds since Okotoks.

Barrett's blood alcohol level was well over the legal limit more than three hours later.

Hepner noted his client's parents, sister and girlfriend were in court for support.

Before sentencing, Barrett apologized to the family for "my unforgivable act."

"I have to deal with it every day for the rest of my life, I can't contemplate this horrible act," he said. "I'm sorry to all your family and friends for what I caused. I'm terribly sorry and ashamed ...

"Drinking and driving is not what I do. There is so much grief caused by drinking and driving. This incident was out of character and I learned my lesson the hard way. I'm prepared to accept the consequences. I'm not a bad person, but I did a terrible thing. All I can do is learn from my mistakes and make sure this doesn't happen again."

Mahoney cited case law that emphasizes there has to be a message sent to the community that drinking and driving cannot be tolerated. "I'd like to say to the family that is coping with the sudden loss, especially in these circumstances, of a loved one, is one of the most painful and unfair challenges you can possibly face ..."

Mahoney also ordered Barrett to perform 200 hours of community service, provide a DNA sample and not consume any alcohol or other intoxicants until the end of his probation period.

Source:  The Edmonton Journal


Last updated on: 2012-11-25 | Link to this post