A 54-year-old central Alberta man was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison and banned from driving for four years for his role in a 2020 crash that killed a Red Deer man.
Kelly Torris, who lives in Rimbey, was found guilty following a trial last October for dangerous driving causing death in connection with a collision on January 23, 2020 on Highway 11 and Burnt Lake Trail.
Torris was traveling west on Highway 11 in a semi-truck pulling a tanker truck when he collided around 11:30 a.m. with a pickup truck being driven by Daxton Woods, 27, southbound on Burnt Lake Trail.
Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Judge Marilyn Slawinsky accepted a joint submission from the defense and the Crown prosecutor to impose the two-year sentence.
Slawinsky said she took Torris’ “genuine remorse” into account, noting he hadn’t been able to get back behind the wheel since the fatal collision.
While Torris had no intention of hurting anyone, the collision was the result of an “unacceptable level of inattention that rises to the level of criminal culpability,” Slawinsky said.
“I have no doubt that he will carry this incident for the rest of his life.”
The judge addressed members of Woods’ family, saying she knew the “extremely tragic event” just months before Daxton’s wedding will have a lasting impact on her family.
“There is not a person in his life who has not suffered from his death,” said the judge.
The victim impact statements written by Woods’ mother, father, brother and grandmother were “heartbreaking in their grief,” she said.
The family will always wonder how their lives would be different if Daxton were alive. However, Slawinsky urged them to, in time, find it in their hearts to forgive Torris and try to find joy and pleasure in their lives in honor of Daxton’s memory.
Torris, who is married with three adult children, tearfully apologized to the family. “I’m sorry this accident happened and took it away from you.”
Crown prosecutor Greg Gordon had asked for a five-year driving ban, saying the fact that Torris was a professional truck driver was an aggravating factor and he needed to be more careful.
The collision was caused by him being inattentive for 10 seconds and 500 meters and the traffic light had been red for several seconds before he passed, Gordon said.
Defense lawyer Maurice Collard asked for a driving ban of two to five years, leaving the duration to the discretion of the judge.
Collard said Torris was a loving family man who had a clean driving record before the fatal collision.
“It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t deliberate,” he said. “It was 10 seconds, it’s inexplicable.”
Torris was also ordered to provide a sample of his DNA to a national database.
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