An Edmonton man with a history of impaired driving was sentenced to six years in prison Friday after he drunkenly caused a fatal, high-speed collision that followed a police pursuit.

Jovi David Howie, 25, stared at the floor of the prisoner’s box as he was given his sentence. After credit for pre-trial custody, Howie has five years and three months left to serve.

“Jovi Howie thought he was more important and better than anyone else,” Crown prosecutor Kim Goddard told court. “Mr. Howie was a ticking time bomb and it didn’t take a crystal ball to predict he’d kill someone someday.”

Howie was drunk behind the wheel of a Jeep Cherokee just before 6 a.m. on Aug. 6, 2012, when an EPS officer noticed he was speeding. That officer followed Howie and called for backup when he discovered the vehicle had been reported stolen. A short police chase ensued, but officers backed off when the speeds in a west-end residential area became too dangerous.

Ninety seconds later, Howie sped through a red light and slammed into an SUV in the intersection of 156th Street and 100th Avenue. The impact killed the other driver, 52-year-old Lyle Rude. The pipefitter and father of five was two blocks from home on his way to work.

Court heard that Howie’s blood was drawn when he went to hospital for a broken leg he suffered in the crash. He was found to have twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system.

Howie was convicted of dangerous driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death, flight from police, disqualified driving and driving over .08 causing death.

Goddard told court that Howie had previously been convicted of impaired driving in 2010 and was on release and awaiting trial on a second impaired charge that he was convicted of after the crash that killed Rude.

“It seems to have been an annual occurrence,” Goddard said.

Howie was disqualified from driving at the time he fled police and caused the crash, but obviously didn’t care, Goddard said.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Adam Germain rejected Howie’s claim that someone else was driving the Jeep and somehow fled the scene uninjured in the 30 seconds before police arrived.

“Let me say bluntly that I do not believe the evidence of the accused,” Germain said. “It is beyond reality that someone else was in that red Jeep. It is simply impossible.”

Goddard pointed out that Howie was so preoccupied with trying to convince police and paramedics that he wasn’t driving, that he never bothered to ask how the other driver was.

Audrey Flynn, Rude’s widow, cried as she read a victim impact statement about her “best friend and soulmate of 16 years.”

She spoke about how every time she passes through the fatal intersection, she feels sick to her stomach. Flynn moved from Edmonton to Consort after the crash to be close to where Rude is buried in his hometown.

“It is sad when the person who gave you the best memories becomes a memory,” she said. “Rest in peace, Lyle. I love you.”

Flynn spoke directly to Howie and forgave him. She asked him “to be a man” and admit what he’d done.

When it was Howie’s turn to speak, he admitted nothing.

“I’m truly deeply sorry for that family’s loss,” he said before quickly sitting down again.

Roseanne Cox, the sole witness, testified at Howie’s trial she thought she would die when she looked in her rear-view mirror and saw Howie speeding toward her as she waited at the red light at the 156th Street and 100th Avenue intersection. Cox was returning home from Tim Hortons, she said.

“It was very, very fast. I’m thinking it was travelling well over 100 kilometres an hour,” she testified. “I thought I was done. I thought I was finished. I thought my life was ending.”

At the last minute, Howie veered out of her lane, swerved around her and ran the red light, slamming into the side of Rude’s SUV and rolling it across the intersection.

Source: Edmonton Journal




Last updated on: 2013-05-08 | Link to this post