MOOSE JAW, Sask. – An impaired driver has been sentenced to four years in prison for a crash in south-central Saskatchewan that killed three of his friends.
A fourth man is still recovering after suffering severe head trauma in the September 2013 rollover.
Jesse Taylor of Moose Jaw pleaded guilty last month to impaired driving causing death and bodily harm.
Taylor, who is 24, and another friend were the only two in the vehicle who were wearing seatbelts and avoided major injuries.
A Court of Queen’s Bench justice accepted a joint submission by the Crown and defence that Taylor be sentenced to four years in the deaths.
“It’s appropriate,” defence lawyer Merv Nidesh said. “We’re satisfied. The judge gave all the consideration to it. I think she did a marvelous job given the circumstances.”
He was also handed a concurrent 18-month sentence for drunk driving causing bodily harm.
The six men were travelling to Moose Jaw from Mossbank, Sask., after a day of fishing, drinking and partying, when Taylor lost control of the truck and it flipped over an embankment.
The four who were not wearing seatbelts were ejected.
The accident killed Jason Friesen and Joshua Patterson of Moose Jaw and Justin Kowalski from Mossbank. All were 24 years old.
Friesen’s stepmother, Melonie Karmarznuk, said everyone involved is already serving a life sentence.
“We’ll never find closure, ever,” she said. “We lost a part of our life, we lost a part of our family. None of us will ever be the same.”
Cody Johnson spent months in a coma and is continuing to rehabilitate.
Jesse Taylor provided a written statement at the time of sentencing:
I would just like to express how deeply sorry I am. The decision I made to drive that night haunts and will continue to haunt me for the rest of my life. Not a day goes by I don’t think about these boys and wish I could change all of this or trade places with anyone of them. I hope one day you guys can find it in your hearts to forgive me for my really bad decision to drive that night. I am truely [sic] and deeply sorry for the pain I have caused you!
With files from The Canadian Press