(WATCH: Travis Hurlburt’s family is angry over the sentence given to the man responsible for the teen’s death. Fletcher Kent explains.)
EDMONTON – The man who drove 178 kilometres an hour and killed an 18-year-old will spend two more years behind bars.
Derrick O’Connor was sentenced to four years on Friday, but has already served two. He was also given three years probation and a lifetime driving ban.
The family of the 18-year-old victim, Travis Hurlburt, called the decision “disgusting.”
“The family is deeply impacted and disgusted with the sentence that was handed down of 20 months in prison and three years probation,” said family friend Grant Latta on Friday.
“This is just an absolute tragedy. A young boy was taken from his family.
“He will never be able to have a girlfriend, a wife, a family.”
“This sentence that was passed down was an absolute joke.”
Hurlburt worked for Latta and even lived with him and his wife for several years.
“Twenty months in jail and three years probation for killing somebody,” said Latta.
“They took this precious boy from us. Anger, absolute anger right now.”
In court, Hurlburt’s mother asked the judge for the chance to speak to O’Connor face-to-face. That request was denied. On the way out of court, another family member told the defence lawyer to “shut up.”
In her decision, Judge Donna Groves said she would have given O’Connor between five and six years behind bars if it weren’t for the accused’s specific circumstances. Because he is aboriginal, the court must take into account his upbringing, which was not positive. He suffers from substance abuse problems and also has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Taking those factors into consideration, Groves reduced the sentence to four years.
Hurlburt was killed in July 2013 in north Edmonton. He was in his Volkswagan Passat on Manning Drive, turning left onto 167 Avenue, when a Dodge Avenger, travelling south on Manning Drive, hit his car.
After the crash, witnesses called for O’Connor to come back to the scene, but he walked away. Two witnesses tackled him a block away and held him until police arrived.
According to the agreed statement of facts, O’Connor had between four and six beers on the evening of July 24, 2013. Blood tests shows he had alcohol in his system, but was not legally impaired.
“The collision was catastrophic, the impact caused the Volkswagon Passat to rip in half and the Dodge Avenger caught on fire,” said Sgt. Margaret Raposo, Edmonton Police Service Major Collision Investigation Section, on July 25. “It was quite bad. One of the worst I’ve seen.”
Hurlburt was rushed to hospital but died about an hour later from his injuries.
With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News