Tracey Grieder, left, and her brother Lee Morrison talk to reporters about the parole hearing of Daniel Tschetter, who killed Morrison's infant son in a traffic accident, at the Bowden Institution Wednesday. ((Bill Graveland/CP))

A Cochrane, Alta., man who killed five people after plowing his cement truck into a car stopped at a red light in Calgary in 2007 has been denied day parole.

Instead, Daniel Tschetter will be allowed unescorted temporary absences.

Tschetter will be allowed to go home for 24 hours in the first month, 48 hours in the second and then unescorted trips for 72 hours.

The parole board says there's no doubt about Tschetter's remorse, but it feels he needs a gradual release so he can get grief and psychological counselling. 

Temporary absences are the first type of release an offender can receive and may be authorized for a variety of reasons like family visits and medical reasons.

Day parole allows an offender to be out in the community as long as they return nightly to a halfway house authorized by the parole board. 

Family gets apology

Tschetter said at his parole hearing at the Bowden Institution Wednesday that he takes full responsibility and is sorry for the pain he caused the victims’ families.

The horrific crash occurred on Dec. 7 at the intersection of Macleod Trail and 194th Avenue.


Kiarra Gautreau, 6, and Alexia Gautreau, 9, above, as well as Zachary Morrison, 16 months, died in the December 2007 crash. ((CBC))

The vehicle contained Melaina Hovdebo and her 16-month-old son Zachary Morrison, as well as Hovdebo’s fiance Chris Gautreau and his two daughters: nine-year-old Alexia and six-year-old Kiarra.

All five occupants of the vehicle were killed.

Lee Morrison, the father of 16-month-old Zachary, attended the parole hearing.

"Tough day to be here," he said. "It's tough on my emotions. I think they made the right decision to integrate him step by step." 

Prison provided time to think

Tschetter said he’s done a lot of soul searching since he has been in prison.

He admits he has a poor driving record, with 20 violations over 20 years.

A self-admitted workaholic, he said he was always in a hurry and maintains that he didn’t see the car in front of him until he hit it.

Tschetter was questioned multiple times by police about a vodka bottle they recovered from the hopper of his truck.

He maintains that while he was attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings he was not drinking that day, and is not sure why 12 breathalyzer tests at the scene failed.

Tschetter has been banned for life from driving a commercial truck.