A B.C. trucker who killed another motorist when he failed to negotiate a curve in the highway in July 2016 was sentenced to three years in prison and will be suspended for driving for five years.
Myles Regan Parsons, 61, was convicted of dangerous driving causing death after a four-day trial in February. He was sentenced in a Rossland courtroom in September, though the written decision wasn’t released until Tuesday.
The Aldergrove man was pulling two trailers loaded with crushed vehicles westbound on Highway 3B east of Fruitvale, B.C., when he entered a curve in the highway at an excessive speed, wrote Justice Gordon Weatherill of the British Columbia Supreme Court in the decision.
“That caused his trailers and the load they were carrying to spill onto the highway and strike a pickup truck that was travelling in the opposite direction,” Weatherill wrote.
“The driver of the pickup truck, Michael McIssac, was killed in the accident.”
In his decision, Weatherill said the posted speed limit when travelling westbound for the right-hand curve was 70 km/h with an advisory speed for the curve of 60 km/h. The road surface was clean and bare, with asphalt shoulders lining the gravel road edge. The weather was clear with a temperature of around 25 C.
There was plenty of notice for the reduced speed limit, Weatherill noted, but evidence accepted at trial indicated that Parsons was travelling at 94 km/h at the time of the fatal crash. There was no sign of drugs or alcohol at the scene, nor was an electronic device being used.
“Mr. Parsons was a professional driver at the time of the offence and … professional drivers are under a heavier obligation and greater responsibility than non-professional drivers,” Weatherill said.
He added that Parsons has a poor driving record with 46 infractions including 22 speed-related, one driving without due care, and one driving without consideration, and two 24-hour driving prohibitions.
Dangerous driving causing death carries no minimum sentence, but has a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment, though the Crown sought a 3.5-year to five-year sentence and 10-year driving prohibition, highlighting the sentence for Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the driver of a transport truck involved in the deadly crash with the Humboldt Broncos. He pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
“Sentencing any offender is both a difficult and unpleasant task. I have given the circumstances of this case as well as the submissions of counsel considerable thought,” Weatherill said.
“This is not a case where Mr. Parsons failed to take reasonable steps to avoid an existing risk. Rather, in my view, it is a case where he created the risk by driving his loaded tractor-trailer unit at an excessive speed as it entered a relatively sharp curve in the highway despite having been warned by highway signage to reduce his speed. … The outcome was the tragic loss of a young innocent life and the devastating impact that loss has had on his family and his friends.”
Given the “nature and seriousness of the offence,” Weatherill opted for the three-year prison term, which he said would meet objectives of deterrence and denunciation.
Parsons and his wife of 20 years share four children and have a two-year-old grandchild. He is the primary breadwinner in his household and expressed remorse, and suicidal thoughts, in the aftermath of the crash.