Jan 16, 2012 - MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES OVER CRASH

Police say a Beaumont man used so much alcohol and so much speed that a fatality was inevitable in a November crash that killed three young men near Beaumont.

In a rare move, a 28-year-old is charged with three counts of manslaughter, as well as drunk driving causing death after his Dodge Ram pickup struck the Grand Am they were riding in.

Zane Novak, father of one of the victims, expressed relief as he hailed Monday’s announcement of manslaughter charges in the case.

“We’re certainly relieved that he was charged ... It’s really important to all the parents right now. The charge of manslaughter is very significant. It carries with it how serious this tragedy and crime really are,” said Zane, father of Kole Novak, 18, who died in the wreck.

The delay in the charges being laid was because the suspect was hospitalized with serious injuries. This caused painful and unnecessary speculation for some, Zane said. The charges reaffirm that the three young men were just victims, headed to the Novak home, when the wreck occurred, he added.

“When Const. Paige came to us and informed us that Kole, Brad and Thaddeus were dead, it was like our family went from five to two in the blink of an eye, at the discretion of (an allegedly) drunk driver,” he said. “They were innocent victims.”

Brad Arsenault, 18, was Kole’s friend from kindergarten and lived with the family during his senior year in high school.

Thaddeus Lake, 22, was a talented musician - a bassist for The Maddigans - and was Karmia Novak’s boyfriend and close family friend who had also lived with the Novaks, the elder Novak said.

At the time of the tragedy, Kole and his sister were preparing to move to Calgary and work in the family business there.

“It has impacted beyond belief every aspect of our life. The horrific consequences of drinking and driving cannot be put into human terms or words,” Zane said.

“The damage it does to families, to lives, to dreams unfulfilled is beyond comprehension. It’s indescribable what it (alleged drunk driving) did to our families, never mind what it did to three amazing young men who had the world at their fingertips. They had everything to live for, and no reason to die.”

It’s the first time manslaughter charges have been laid in a drunk driving death by Leduc RCMP.

“The factors of speed and the amount of alcohol in combination with environmental conditions, no matter which way you added that up, the outcome would have been fatal,” said Const. Jodi Heidinger of the Leduc RCMP.

Police aren’t saying how much alcohol was in the man’s system or just how fast he was going when he allegedly caused the wreck that killed Kole Novak, 18, Bradley Arsenault, 18, and Thaddeus Lake, 22. But Heidinger said the driver was “well above” legal limits for both, enough to meet the definition of manslaughter — culpable homicide, or causing the death of another by an unlawful act.

Both vehicles were traveling east bound on Highway 625 at the time of the collision in the early morning hours of Nov. 26.

The suspect was arrested Friday — just after he was released from hospital for injuries he himself sustained in the crash. He still has a long road to recover from his injuries, Heidinger said.

It’s all a tragedy with a rippling effect - one authorities believe could have been avoided.

“The bottom line is that it was so preventable ... the outcome could have been completely different,” she said.

Johnathan Pratt, 28, remains in police custody, scheduled to appear in Leduc Provincial Court via closed circuit television on Jan. 19.

If convicted, he faces prison time, with three counts of manslaughter, three counts of impaired operation involving death and three counts of over 80 mg causing death.

Pratt has not pleaded.

Source: Edmonton Sun

 

Last updated on: 2012-07-10 | Link to this post