A Calgary father has been found guilty of drunk driving during a crash in 2016 that killed his 17-year-old daughter and seriously injured her friend.
Michael Shaun Bomford was driving a Jeep Liberty on westbound McKnight Boulevard on Tuesday, Oct. 18 when the vehicle hit the median and rolled across the eastbound lanes.
Bombford was ejected from the vehicle during the crash, which happened between 68 Street and 52 Street N.E., as was his daughter Meghan Bomford.
Meghan’s 16-year-old friend Kelsey Nelson was also thrown from the Jeep.
All three were rushed to hospital, where Meghan later died.
Bomford was charged with six offences, including impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm, dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
During his trial, an expert testified that a blood sample taken from Bomford in hospital shortly after the crash showed he had a blood-alcohol content of a minimum of 226 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood — almost three times the legal limit — when the rollover occurred.
No witnesses called at trial were able to confirm that Bomford was behind the wheel of his Jeep when it lost control and all three people inside were ejected.
The Crown argued that text messages sent from Meghan to her mother just minutes before the crash prove Bomford was driving at the time.
Nelson suffered a brain injury and has no recollection of the crash.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Kristine Eidsvik handed down her decision on Friday, finding Bomford guilty of all charges.
Meghan’s aunt, Heather Cooper, said she was ecstatic after the decision.
“It’s been difficult for all of our families to see and hear things that were being said, so it was incredibly validating to be able to sit there and see her say those words of ‘guilty,’” she said.
Cooper said the details of the crash and hearing what witnesses saw and experienced was difficult to hear.
“Knowing that the witnesses had to witness something so horrific and live with those sights for the rest of their lives and still have the ability to come and give their testimony,” Cooper said.
“There’s things that I heard that a family member should never hear about a loved one and I hope nobody ever has to go through something like this.”
Cooper then described the Good Samaritans that stopped and helped Meghan and her friend “guardian angels.”
She said her sister, Meghan’s mother, was feeling validated by the decision.
“Very validated that Meghan was heard — her truth was listened to and the right thing happened,” Cooper said.
Cooper said the family is now looking forward to Bomford’s sentencing in May, adding the family can now finally grieve Meghan.
“We can just go forward celebrating Megan and Kelsey every single day,” she said.
“It’s difficult that a parent wouldn’t take responsibility for their actions and would instead blame their child for this, but he serves his own purpose and it’s up to him to face what he has to face — karma.”
Cooper said Nelson is doing well despite her life being changed forever by the traumatic crash.
“She’s amazing and she’s strong and she’s kicking butt every single day and proven everybody that nothing can stop her.”
A sentencing date has been set for May 29.
— With files from Silvana Benolich, Global News