A Newmarket man charged with impaired driving causing death made his first court appearance in Newmarket on Wednesday.
Tyler Nielsen appeared via video looking disheveled and wearing a green hooded sweatshirt.
The 20-year-old said nothing as he appeared before a justice of the peace.
His lawyer, Sheldon Wisener, asked for the matter to be put over until Dec. 6 while he awaits disclosure.
Outside court, Wisener said Nielsen was in the Sunnybrook Hospital trauma centre until last Monday, before being released to a Lindsay jail, where he was remanded into custody.
On Nov. 13, just before 6 a.m., Stuart Ellis was killed when the car he was driving was struck head-on by the car being driven by Nielsen on Highway 48, just south of Davis Drive.
Nielsen was later charged with impaired driving causing death, disqualified driving and taking a vehicle without consent.
Nielsen’s family left court without commenting, but a family friend, who did not want to give his name, told Global News he tried to help Nielsen after his licence was disqualified last year when police said he was also charged with impaired driving.
“He went to a rehab after his disqualified license. I had him stay with me for a couple of weeks just to get them on board,” the friend said. “He had a situation and he sorted it out.”
The friend said he was saddened to hear that Nielsen had been arrested again last week, this time for impaired driving causing death.
Meanwhile, at the Taylor funeral home just three kilometres away from the Newmarket courthouse, the family of Ellis said their final goodbyes to the 28-year-old father and husband.
Ellis’ pregnant widow, Justine Ellis, clutched the couple’s one-year-old son and leaned over her late husband’s casket as it was put into the hearse.
Ellis’ father-in-law, Graeme Turl, a superintendent with York Regional Police, who was a pallbearer at the funeral, said it is “absolute devastation for our family.
“For my daughter, my grandson and obviously the unborn child. They had a whole life planned ahead of them and, unfortunately, from one selfish, senseless act, their world has careened down.”
Turl said he does not understand why people continue to drink and drive despite all the public awareness.
“Please do not drink and drive, it causes absolute devastation and shatters a family and all those associated with it. You have a choice – make the right choice, not the poor choice,“ he said.