ABOVE WATCH: 27-year-old Travis Hettinger was sentenced Monday in relation to a high-speed crash that killed 19-year-old Kendra Cole. Hettinger was originally charged with criminal negligence and impaired driving causing death, but as Gary Bobrovitz reports, the impaired charge was dropped.
CALGARY – An Alberta man charged with criminal negligence causing death and impaired driving was sentenced to 18 months in jail in a Didsbury court on Monday. After counting the time he’s spent in custody, Travis Hettinger will serve 15-and-a-half months plus a year of probation.
Hettinger pleaded guilty to dangerous driving in the crash northeast of Cremona that killed 19-year-old Kendra Cole. The young woman died Aug. 5, 2013 from injuries sustained in the July 28, 2013 incident.
The judge said an apology Hettinger gave the family was convincing and heartfelt. Court heard Hettinger had confessed to drinking earlier on the day of the accident, but the court ruled it out as a cause of the crash. There was no evidence of Hettinger being over the legal alcohol limit or avoiding police during the pursuit.
The impaired driving charges were later dropped in a plea deal made in April, which angered Cole’s parents.
“The judicial system — that you can plea bargain down to a lesser charge — we have no input,” said Bruce Cole, Kendra’s father, in an April interview. “We would have preferred that this to have gone to trial.”
Cole said Monday the sentence was a “slap on the wrist” and that he’d been hoping for a two-year sentence.
Hettinger’s lawyer, Balfour Der, said the sentence was a bit higher than he expected. Der said his client learned his lesson during the trial.
With files from Carlos Prieto, David Boushy and Mia Sosiak.