A Sherwood Park electrician, who killed one man and badly injured another when he over-accelerated his muscle car while driving drunk, was put behind bars Friday.

Rodney Ivan Flight, 47, was sentenced to five years in prison after earlier being convicted of impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm.

Flight was also banned from driving for eight years.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast said motor vehicles are “akin to a weapon” and lamented how people don’t seem to understand that they put people’s lives in jeopardy when they get behind the wheel while impaired.

“It is disturbing that these senseless and completely preventable crimes continue to happen because of impaired drivers. These crimes are a plague on our society.”

Best earlier ruled Flight had a blood-alcohol level of between .099 and .147 when he caused a June 20, 2009, collision near Alberta Beach by “deliberately” over-accelerating his “extremely powerful” 2008 Corvette, causing the rear wheels to spin and the car to fishtail, and resulting in it crossing the centreline and hitting an oncoming car.

The driver of the Buick, 67-year-old Robert Anton Zastrow of Onoway, was declared dead at the scene. His brother, Jeffrey Zastrow, who was then 54, was airlifted to hospital with a fractured sternum and three broken ribs.

Court heard Flight had admitted drinking beer while playing in a golf tournament near Alberta Beach, which is 70 km west of Edmonton, and then, after a banquet, decided to go for a ride in the area in his Corvette.

Flight told police that after seeing the oncoming Buick, he “stepped on it” as the section of Range Road 32 was straight and then said the tires spun and he lost control.

Expert witnesses testified Flight was going about 77 kmh in the 50 kmh zone just before the 7:30 p.m. crash.

Bast said it was aggravating that Flight had two prior drunk-driving convictions and several speeding citations. Flight tearfully apologized in court, saying he was “sorry from the bottom of his heart,” but the judge questioned his remorse after noting his words were contrasted by the fact he was busted for speeding while on interim release for these charges and under restricted driving privileges.

Ten moving and emotionally-charged victim impact statements were read out in court, including ones by Zastrow’s widow and some of his children and grandchildren.

Sterling Steed spoke of being seven when he lost his grandpa and how it is hard on Grandparent’s Day going to school without him. “All because of you, the stupid drunk driver,” he said. “Why would you kill my grandpa?”

The boy finished off his statement by saying: “Drunk driving is one of the stupidest things you can do.”

Widow Gloria Zastrow said outside court she was satisfied with the sentence. “I think it’s time the courts in Alberta start dishing out a few more severe sentences and hopefully this is the begining,” she said.

Source: The Edmonton Sun


Last updated on: 2013-06-22 | Link to this post