Robert Anton Zastrow was killed in a car crash outside Edmonton on June 20, 2009

A Sherwood Park man sentenced to five years in prison in April for a fatal crash he caused while driving drunk has now been granted bail while he appeals.

Rodney Ivan Flight floored his Corvette’s gas pedal in a 50 km/h zone after a day of drinking at a golf tournament. He quickly lost control of the car, crossed the centre line and slammed into a Buick headed in the opposite direction. Onoway man Robert Anton Zastrow, 67, was killed. His brother Jeffrey was seriously injured.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast called drunk driving a “plague on society” as she sentenced Flight.

“It’s disturbing that these senseless and completely preventable deaths continue to happen because of impaired drivers,” the judge said.

Now, Flight, 47, has been released from jail while he awaits his appeals to be heard of both his conviction and sentence.

Flight’s appeal is based on a claim that the breath sample taken from him should be excluded from evidence because his rights were breached. Also, Flight’s lawyer argued, Flight “did not lose control of his vehicle because of impairment, but rather was the result of a rapid acceleration with unanticipated consequences — a ‘freak accident,’ ” according to the Court of Appeal of Alberta decision.

In April, Flight was sentenced to five years in prison for impaired driving causing death and 3-1/2 years for impaired driving causing bodily harm. The sentences were to be served concurrently. He was also banned from driving for eight years after his release.

At sentencing, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast said she found Flight’s remorse hard to believe because of two previous impaired-driving convictions and numerous speeding tickets, including one given to him as he awaited trial for the Zastrow crash.

“My belief in that remorse is shaken,” she said. “Mr. Flight doesn’t appear to have learned much from his two previous convictions for drunk driving.”

The day Flight was sentenced, several of Zastrow’s young grandchildren stood and read victim impact statements to the court.

“I was six years old when my grandpa died and it really scared me,” read Gage Turner, now nine, as he stood in the witness box in a shirt and tie. “I have a picture of grandpa in my bedroom, but I still miss him. I feel mad at the man who killed my grandpa. He made everybody sad. I don’t know why people would drink alcohol and drive in their car.”

An avid outdoorsman, Zastrow was on a short trip to look at the lake at Alberta Beach in preparation for a Father’s Day boating trip when the fatal crash occurred.

Flight will not be allowed to drive while on bail.

Source: Edmonton Journal



Last updated on: 2014-06-14 | Link to this post