Two years to the day after 21-year-old Silas O’Brien was killed in a road-rage incident in South Langley, the man convicted of causing his death was caught driving 45 km/h over the posted speed limit on the same road.
The shocking accusation came in New Westminster’s B.C. Supreme Court Friday, as Brent Parent, 43, sat in the prisoner’s box with his head down, while prosecutors argued for a driving ban, citing Parent’s 64 driving convictions.
Crown is seeking an eight-year jail sentence and wants Parent to be prohibited from driving for 15 years.
O’Brien died in the early hours of March 13, 2008. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that Parent, who was driving a diesel Ford F350, became enraged when he thought that the Chevy Silverado O’Brien was riding in had deliberately flashed its high beams at him. Parent forced the pickup carrying O’Brien and his friends — who were on their way to the airport to start a Hawaiian vacation — off the road in South Langley and into a ditch. He then returned to the scene, where he ran down and killed O’Brien.
On the second anniversary of O’Brien’s death, the Langley man was pulled over by police on 16 Avenue after driving 105 km/h. The speed limit was 60 km/h.
Parent, who was convicted on Jan. 19 of three road-rage related charges, has racked up 27 speeding tickets and has had his licence suspended several times. He was also convicted of careless driving in 1993.
On Friday, emotional victim-impact statements from O’Brien’s parents, the two friends he lived with and who were with him when he died, as well as from his girlfriend, were read aloud in court.
O’Brien’s girlfriend wrote that she can now never marry Silas, and she had planned to have children with him one day.
O’Brien’s father, Roger, sobbed as he read his own statement aloud, saying “I do not seek revenge, but I do ask for justice.”
Parent’s lawyer said that his client is remorseful and ashamed of what happened.
Defense is asking for a three to four year jail term and a 36 to 48 month driving ban. His lawyer pleaded with the judge to consider allowing Parent to drive only for his work when he gets out of jail
“He will be returning to live in society and he will need to be a contributing member and as a mechanic he is required to test drive the vehicles he works on,” said defense.
The judge asked if Parent wanted to say anything. Crying, Parent stood up and apologized “for ruining a lot of people’s lives.”
He asked the judge to not put him away for “a long time” because it wouldn’t be fair to his step children. “I realize the O’Briens have lost their son and I’m sure they’d like to see me go away for a long time,” said Parent. “I am very sorry for what happened. I wish it were me instead of him.”
The defence also detailed Parent’s difficult childhood which included having an alcoholic and absent father and a mother who gave birth to him at 16 years of age. She was diagnosed with mental illness by the time he was 12 and she became a chronic alcoholic. Parent left home at 16, at times living on the street. But, he managed to stay away from addiction himself and at the age of 25 began a relationship with a woman who had three very young girls. Despite not being with that woman anymore he maintains a close relationship with her and his three step daughters.The court learened he took those kids in as his own, raising them and being a father figure while starting a successful business.
He also partially raised his sister’s son, trying in vain to adopt him to provide him a safe home away from his sibling’s mental illness and addictions.
He is married and is raising his wife’s two young daughters. Numerous letters of support for Parent were submitted to the courts including from his step children, his ex-wife, his current wife and her mother. Many said he was loyal, caring and generous.
Parent’s lawyer agreed that his driving record “is clearly problematic and troubling.” But to put it in perspective, his lawyer said, Parent only had nine convictions in his 30s. He said when Parent was caught speeding along the same road on the second anniversary of O’Brien’s death, it was because he was trying to get home fast and find out if one of his friends was one of those killed in an avalanche that day.
An avid snowmobiler, Parent feared his good friend was one of the men caught in the avalanche. He said he sped to get home to find out.
Parent will be sentenced May 10.