An Aldergrove truck driver has been sentenced to three years behind bars for a crash near Fruitvale that killed a 26-year-old man.
Myles Regan Parsons, 61, was hauling two trailers of crushed cars westbound on Highway 3B near on July 14, 2016, when he entered a tight curve at excessive speed.
The cars spilled off the trailers and into the path of a pickup truck, heading in the opposite direction and driven by Michael McIsaac. McIsaac was killed.
Justice Gordon C. Weatherill found Parsons guilty of dangerous driving causing death in February after a four-day trial in Rossland.
“This is not a case where Mr. Parsons failed to take reasonable steps to avoid an existing risk,” the justice said in his sentencing ruling. “Rather, in my view, it is a case where he created the risk by driving his loaded tractor-trailer unit at an excessive speed as it entered a relatively sharp curve in the highway despite having been warned by highway signage to reduce his speed.”
He noted that the accident happened at 2 p.m. in dry, clear weather.
“The posted speed limit when travelling westbound for the right-hand curve that Mr. Parsons entered when the collision occurred was 70 km/h with an advisory speed for the curve of 60 km/h,” Weatherill said.
Parsons was driving 94 km/h at the time of the crash.
During the trial, Parsons had claimed that he had been accelerating and using his jake brake because his load of crushed cars had become unstable, and he was trying to steady it. Weatherill rejected that argument.
This was not the first time Parsons had been driving above the speed limit.
Although he is a longtime professional driver, Parson had 46 total driving infractions, 22 of which were speed related and four of which were for excessive speed. He had also been cited for driving without due care, driving without consideration, and he had twice been handed 24-hour driving prohibitions.
“His driving record shows that he has yet to learn from his poor driving conduct,” the judge said.
Weatherill noted that Parsons has no criminal record, and drugs and alcohol were not involved in the crash.
McIsaac’s parents both read victim impact statements before Weatherill passed sentence.
“It is clear that Michael’s death has been emotionally draining for them and has negatively and significantly changed their lives,” the judge said. “It has created a void in their lives that will never be filled.”
Parsons told the court through his lawyer that he has been haunted by the crash, and has had thoughts of suicide. He is the main breadwinner for his family, which Weatherill noted would be significantly impacted by a loss of Parsons’ ability to drive.
The Crown prosecutor in the case had asked for a prison term of between three and a half to five years, plus a 10-year driving ban. The defence had asked for a 12 to 18 month sentence with a two to three year driving prohibition.
In addition to a three-year sentence, Weatherill banned Parsons from driving for five years. He’ll be 66 years old when he gets his license back.
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