A man who killed four high school football players in a crash in northern Alberta has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice William Tilleman agreed Wednesday morning to a joint submission by the crown and defence that Brenden Holubowich should receive a prison term of three years and a driving prohibition for another three years.

Tilleman said that determining a sentence for Holubowich may have been the most difficult thing he has ever done.

Tilleman's eyes filled with tears as he told court he sympathized with the dead teens' relatives, who had suggested that a three-year sentence would not be enough. He also said he felt for Holubowich's family.

Tilleman said he struggled with his decision and at one point considered a longer period behind bars.

But in the end, the judge said, the sentence jointly submitted by the defence and the Crown was just. Jason Neustaeter, the Crown Prosecutor explained that "it follows the case law in Alberta and in Canada generally for sentences like this."

But the victims' families are outraged.

"Our justice system is just a joke," said one victim's father, Leon Deller. "Honestly, he killed four young men and injured one and he goes for three years, quite likely on parole in eight months to a year.

Holubowich had been facing 16 charges, including impaired driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene of a crash. He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

His truck collided with a car carrying five members of the Warriors football team from Grande Prairie Composite High School on October 22, 2011.

Court heard Holubowich had earlier been drinking with co-workers at a Grande Prairie bowling alley and was driving at speeds as high as 151 km/h on Highway 668 on the way home to the nearby town of Wembley.

The football players had just left a party outside the city. But within minutes their car and three others pulled off the highway and into the driveway of a nearby business. One by one, all quickly made U-turns on the highway to go in the other direction.

Their car, the last to make the U-turn, was struck as it straddled the centre line.

Walter Borden-Wilkins and Tanner Hildebrand, both 15, and Matthew Deller and Vince Stover, both 16, were killed. Zach Judd, now 17, was pulled from the wreckage.

Holubowich never stopped to see if the boys were OK or call 911.

He ran on foot to his workplace, an oilfield transportation company, where RCMP found him an hour later.

Holubowich's mother, Theresa Bateman, read a statement to the families outside the courthouse

"We cannot imagine the loss or the grief that you've experienced," she said tearfully, "and no matter how much we might hope, pray or wish that it isn't so, this tragedy can never be reversed and for this, we are sorry."

Source: Global Edmonton


Last updated on: 2013-02-27 | Link to this post