‘I lost a part of myself’: Family of impaired driving victim speaks in court
EDMONTON – The family and friends of a man killed by an impaired driver in November 2013 shared their feelings of grief and helplessness in court Friday morning.
Brennan Bagdan was killed when the vehicle he and his wife Tracy were in was hit by an SUV heading the wrong way down a one-way street.
Brennan was 40 years old and had only been married for a year-and-a-half. The couple was returning home from celebrating the second anniversary of their first date when they were hit.
The man behind the wheel was drunk. Tyhler Keith has not been convicted but he has admitted to being three times over the legal limit at the time of the crash.
Police said alcohol and speed were factors in the Garneau area crash. The SUV crossed four lanes of traffic on 109 Street and hit a car. Keith was 21 years old at the time of the crash.
Friday was an emotional day in court as loved ones read victim impact statements, including Brennan’s widow.
“I remember calling out for Brennan repeatedly but there was no answer,” Tracy said.
“I lost a part of myself I will never get back.”
“I now live in fear of making plans because I know how quickly things can change,” she said. “I know what true sorrow and helplessness is.”
Brennan’s brother spoke, grieving the fact he’d never be an uncle to their children.
The victim’s mother, Donna Bagdan, also described the impact the fatal crash has had on her life.
“I slipped into a debilitating fog; not remembering the simplest things,” Donna said. “I’m overly sensitive to everything around me, even driving in a car.”
“It’s a void I will have to carry for the rest of my life,” she said.
“To know he’s not coming home has been so hard,” Donna said outside court. “It’s been really hard. It’s going to be a shock for the rest of my life.”
“Words cannot describe the devastation this crime has caused,” Nicole White, a friend of Tracy Bagdan, said.
“We have not and will not fully recover. Tragedy and anxiety goes on and on.”
Each time a person read their victim impact statement, Keith turned and looked at them as they spoke.
“I think because it happened so long ago, it was almost meaningless,” Donna Bagdan said. “It took him a lot of time to decide to say something.”
“It didn’t resonate as loudly as an earlier on message – to say how sorry he was.”
The Crown is calling for a five-year sentence. The Defence is calling for a sentence between three and three-and-a-half years.
The family and friends in court all said no amount of time would bring Brennan back, but hope this case will stop others from driving drunk.
“Kids just don’t get the picture if they don’t get a hard enough sentence,” Donna Badgar said. “It’s not fair that we’re out there risking our lives with them driving.”
Keith has a previous licence suspension for numerous speeding infractions from 2009.
“I appreciate he’s a young fellow and he’s made some really bad choices,” Donna Badgar said outside court. “I felt really sorry for his family the whole time, honestly I have. I know he needs some prison time so I think that what they’re asking is really quite fair.”
A sentencing decision will be made in February.
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