3-year sentence in 4 Alberta teens' deaths angers families
Crash near Grande Prairie killed high school football players in 2011
The families of four high school football players killed in a car crash near Grande Prairie, Alta., left the courthouse disappointed and angry Wednesday at the three-year sentence handed to the man responsible for their deaths.
"He goes for three years — quite likely on parole in eight months to a year — it's not right," said Leon Deller, father of Matthew Deller, 16, who died along with Vincent Stover, 16, Walter Borden-Wilkins, 15, and Tanner Hildebrand, 15.
Deller said he was hoping Justice William A. Tilleman would impose a stiffer sentence than the three years agreed to by the Crown prosecutor and Holubowich's defence lawyer, but he wasn't surprised when it didn't happen.
Brendon Holubowich, 23, was sentenced Wednesday on four counts of dangerous driving causing death and one count of dangerous driving causing injury.
"The courts just failed us completely," said Desiree Judd, the mother of Zach Judd, the only survivor in the car. "They failed the boys, they failed Zach."
The judge told the families the case was the most difficult he has ever dealt with.
Tilleman wiped his eyes as he recounted reading the 20 victim impact statements from family members Tuesday, describing them as "so deeply personal" that he "will never forget them."
After the sentencing Holubowich's mother, Teresa Bateman, read a statement to reporters in which she apologized to the victims' families.
"We cannot imagine the loss or grief you've experienced," she said. "This tragedy can never be reversed and for this we are sorry."
Bateman also talked about the impact of the crash on her family.
"Any thread of normal was also ripped from our lives," she said. "The familiarity of our home community became a place where we now felt afraid and at risk."
On Oct. 22, 2011, Holubowich was driving a pickup truck that hit a car carrying five members of the Grande Prairie Composite High School Warriors football team.
Court heard that at the point of impact, Holubowich was travelling at 120 km/h.