A Calgary driver surprised a courtroom today by pleading guilty on the day his trial was supposed to begin.

Chris Fitzsimmons was charged after the car he was driving in January 2011 went out of control and slammed into several parked cars in southeast Calgary.

His passenger, 20-year-old Travis Meissinger, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"My son picked the wrong car to go into and he never made it home that night," said the victim's mother Dana Meissinger.

"We're glad that he pled guilty so we don't have to go through this whole court case all week, and look at all the evidence again," said father Ken Meissinger.

Fitzsimmons pleaded guilty today to a charge of impaired driving causing death.

The Meissinger family says it would like to see a minimum sentence of five years but expects it will be lower.

"They're going to have to start doing something because there are more people drinking and driving and causing death and getting away with it and getting out soon," said Dana Meissinger. "Nobody is learning."

Fitzsimmons will be sentenced on May 30.