Edmonton driver responsible for fatal hit and run while drunk sentenced to 5 years

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WATCH ABOVE: Tears flowed in an Edmonton courtroom Monday as a 38-year-old man was handed a five-year sentence for impaired driving causing death. Erick Garcia was nearly three times the legal limit and he doesn't remember the day his Jeep ran down 73-year-old Ajaib Grewal. Fletcher Kent has the details. – Dec 19, 2016

A man who admitted in court he was impaired when he struck and killed a 73-year-old pedestrian in a marked crosswalk and fled the scene was sentenced Monday.

Erick Garcia, 38, was given a five-year sentence after a judge accepted a joint submission from the Crown and defence. After time served, he’ll spend four years and 90 days behind bars.

In October, Garcia pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while over .08 causing death in connection with a June 20 collision that took the life of Ajaib Singh Grewal.

Edmonton police officers were called to the area near Mill Woods Road South and 48 Street at around 4:30 p.m. Grewal died at the scene.

READ MORE: Suspect charged in deadly hit and run in southeast Edmonton

Garcia was arrested a short time later, just a few blocks away at 36 Street and 12A Avenue.

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After the decision was read Monday, Grewal’s daughter, Harinder Jouhal, spoke outside the court room.

“We respect the court,” she said, “but it’s still very devastating. Nothing is going to bring him back. No sentencing is enough to take somebody’s life.

“It’s a really hard time to go through all that,” she said, wiping away tears.

Grewal had three children and seven grandchildren. Jouhal said her dad was a very generous, helpful person.

“He always worked hard,” she said. “Since he retired, he’s always helped the community and served the community and (is) always there to help everybody and help not only us, other people around us too.”

On Monday, Garcia addressed the court, apologizing to Grewal’s family and his own.

“I have learnt [sic] how broken I have been,” Garcia said.

His defence lawyer also read a letter from the Garcia family to Grewal’s family, which conveyed “heartfelt apologies, shame and grief.”

According to the agreed statement of facts, Grewal was crossing a clearly marked intersection with stop signs in all four directions, and “there were no obstacles affecting visibility at the time.”

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Garcia is said to have driven his Jeep at 73 kilometres per hour through the intersection without braking, striking the elderly victim, who was thrown about 100 feet in the air.

READ MORE: ‘I don’t want to see another death here’: Mill Woods resident on changes to intersection

The agreed statement of facts stated Garcia smelled strongly of alcohol, had slurred speech and could hardly stand up. The constable who made the arrest also found an open mickey underneath the Jeep’s driver’s seat.

“The accused was assisted out of the driver’s seat by Const. Weavel. He teetered back and forth, barely able to stand on his own feet in spite of wearing Reebok flat-bottomed shoes,” read the statements.

“The smell of alcohol beverage was radiating off of the accused’s person.”

Garcia provided a breath sample that registered nearly three times over the legal limit to operate a vehicle.

With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News. 

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