Calgary

Father guilty of killing daughter in drunk driving crash

A Calgary father has been found guilty of killing his own daughter in a drunk driving crash.

Michael Shaun Bomford faced 6 charges in accident that killed his daughter, 17

Meghan Bomford, 17, was killed in a rollover on McKnight Boulevard N.E. in October 2016. Her father, Shaun Bomford, is on trial, accused of drunk driving causing death. (Facebook)

A Calgary father has been found guilty of killing his own daughter in a drunk driving crash.

Michael Shaun Bomford was on trial on charges of drunk driving causing death and bodily harm, as well as dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm.

Meghan Bomford, 17, died after she was thrown from her father's Jeep on McKnight Boulevard in October 2016.

Meghan's best friend, Kelsey Nelson, was also thrown from the vehicle and survived but suffered a serious brain injury. She has no memory of the crash or what led to it, so she did not testify but was present in the courtroom for much of the trial.

'The heartbreak of losing Meghan'

Meghan's mother was not in court for the verdict but sent a statement to CBC News. 

She thanked everyone who offered her family love and support in helping them cope with "the heartbreak of losing Meghan."

"I hope people take the time to check in with those they know who struggle with addictions and the people close to them," wrote Lisa Cooper. "Turning a blind eye to these struggles are not solving any problems or making it go away. My children and I tried reaching out for help and we weren't able to find any support, unfortunately.

"I hope no one ever has to lose their child at the hands of the other parent again. You should be able to trust they will keep you safe. We will forever keep Meghan close in our hearts and advocate for victims of drunk driving...."

Heather Cooper's niece Meghan Bomford was killed when her father, who was drunk at the time, lost control of and crashed his Jeep in October 2016. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

As Court of Queen's Bench Justice Kristine Eidsvik read her verdict, friend and family utterances of relief could be heard from the victims' friends and family in the gallery.

Outside the courtroom, Meghan's aunt Heather Cooper spoke for the victim's family.

"Ecstatic," said Cooper of hearing the judge's decision.

"It's been a long road to get here. It's been difficult for all of our families to see and hear things that were being said and so it was incredibly validating to be able to sit there and see her say those words of guilty. This is the best day ever."

Bomford will remain on bail until a sentencing hearing takes place in May.

During the trial that took place in December, Eidsvik heard evidence Bomford was drunk at the time of the crash with a blood-alcohol limit three times the legal limit.

Accident reconstructionists showed the Jeep was travelling more than 30 km/h above the speed limit when the driver lost control.

Defence lawyer James Wyman had argued there wasn't enough evidence to prove it was his client behind the wheel while prosecutors Scott Wilson and Trevor Fik presented text messages between Meghan and her mother during the drive which suggested Bomford was driving. 

Eidsvik considered the text messages, erratic driving consistent with a drunk driver and the fact that the Jeep was Bomford's in finding "the Crown has proven Mr. Bomford was driving the Jeep when the collision occurred."

"Erratic swerving and excessive speed is consistent with a driver who is impaired by alcohol," said Eidsvik.

The idea that Bomford would pull over on the way to the police station to switch drivers is "pure and unreasonable speculation," said the judge.

'Guardian angels' stopped to help

On Oct. 18, 2016, Bomford had picked up Meghan and Nelson so the girls could get to the police station.

The two friends needed criminal background checks so they could become junior ringette coaches.

The crash happened on McKnight Boulevard in northeast Calgary. Bomford's Jeep Liberty was travelling west between 68th Street and 52nd Street N.E. when it went out of control, fishtailing in the far right lane.

The SUV rolled across the eastbound lanes, and all three people were thrown from the vehicle.

There were several Good Samaritans who stopped to help, including off-duty firefighter, paramedic and ER nurse Jan Ginther who provided medical care to Nelson.

"They're amazing and they're guardian angels," said Cooper.

"Jan saved Kelsey's life and without Jan we wouldn't have Kelsey today. I know they tried for Meghan as well and we are just so grateful for those people who stopped and helped and called 911 and stayed with them, held their hands and said they were loved. It was all that we could ask for."

Nelson is "doing really well," according to Cooper.

"She's of course living with injuries that she's going to have for the rest of her life and her life is changed forever but she's amazing and she's strong and she's kicking butt every single day and proven to everybody that nothing can stop her."

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.