A 35-year-old man accused of killing a conservation officer while driving drunk is now charged with manslaughter.

Blaine Thomas Taypotat was originally charged with impaired driving causing death after a collision on Highway 11, south of Saskatoon, that killed Justin Knackstedt, 23, on May 31.

RCMP said that Taypotat hit Knackstedt while the man was helping to control traffic around an accident scene. The conservation officer had been driving to Blackstrap when he and a colleague stopped to help.

He was at the north edge of the scene when he was fatally struck. Taypotat then kept driving, until he rolled his SUV.

The Crown added the manslaughter charge when Taypotat appeared in provincial court this morning.


Don Worme says his client is extremely remorseful. (CBC)

Don Worme is Taypotat's lawyer. He says the manslaughter charge could have significant consequences should Taypotat be found responsible.

"We all know what murder is – that is culpable homicide," Worme said outside court.

"Manslaughter is non-culpable homicide. Criminal negligence, I would suggest, is a lesser species of that. So in terms of range of severity, the manslaughter charge is at the top of that chain."

Worme says that Taypotat is "extremely remorseful" about what happened.

"He has not entered a plea yet because we have a moving target. What are we going to enter a plea to?"


Justin Knackstedt worked as a conservation officer. (Environment Ministry)

Taypotat is in custody. He returns to court August 21.