Calgary

Jail time for Hutterite man after deadly drunk driving accident

An Alberta Hutterite man will spend two years in jail for a drunk driving accident that killed his brother-in-law and a second man in 2004.

An Alberta Hutterite will spend two years in jail for a deadly drunk driving accident, despite his lawyer's argument that such a sentence would be a hardship because of his client's sheltered lifestyle.

Levi Gross's blood alcohol level was more than two times the legal limit in December 2004, when he crashed a truck into a mini-van,killing his brother-in-law and a second man.

 

Defence lawyer Alain Hepner had asked that Gross serve out his sentence on his Hutterite colony north of Calgary.

But during his sentencing Thursday, provincial court Judge Bruce Fraser said that such a punishment wouldn't serve as a deterrent.

However,the judge said Gross should serve his sentence in a provincial jail rather than a federal prison due to his background.

'Significant hardship': lawyer

Outside of the courthouse, Hepner said his client doesn't have the skills to deal with a prison population.

"Any jail time will be a significant hardship for Levi," he said.

But Peter Kaman, who was driving the mini-van that Gross struck that night, said his family was hoping for a tougher sentence.

His father,John,was killed in the crash, and he and his mother were both injured.

"I would've liked pen. time for sure for him. It's not going to  bring my dad back, but it's a deterrent for others."

The Crown lawyer had asked for three to five years in jail.

Gross was accompanied at the Airdrie courtroom by four elders from the colony, who did not make eye contact with him.

During the man's sentencing, Fraser noted that the colony had shunned Gross,who had apologized for his actions and had been forgiven by his people.

But Fraser went on to say that nothing could mitigate what he had done to the Kaman family.

Hepner said he would discuss the option of an appeal with the colony's elders.

Gross had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts each of impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing injury.

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