Calgary

Mother of victim in fatal drunk driving crash says parole for convicted driver unfair

The mother of a teen who was killed by a drunk driver three years ago says it’s an injustice that the culprit is back on the streets.

Brandon Thomas, 17, was killed in head-on crash in 2012 when Ryan Gibson drove wrong way on Highway 22

Ryan Gibson has been granted full parole after serving less than half of a two-year, eight-month sentence for a drunk-driving crash that killed 17-year-old Brandon Thomas. (CBC)

The mother of a teen who was killed by a drunk driver three years ago says it's an injustice that the culprit is already back on the streets.    

Ryan Gibson was granted full parole Wednesday after serving less than half of a two-year, eight-month sentence.

The mother of Brandon Thomas says the man who killed her son in 2012 when he drove his pickup truck into oncoming traffic should still be behind bars. (Submitted by Thomas family)

Gibson killed 17-year-old Brandon Thomas in December 2012 when he drove his pickup truck into oncoming traffic on Highway 22, crashing head-on into Thomas' car.

The boy died at the scene. Moments before the fatal crash, Gibson also side-swiped two other cars, driving one into a ditch and causing the other to roll several times, causing some injuries.

Gibson appealed after his sentence was handed down last spring, arguing the trial judge should have accepted a joint proposal from defence and Crown counsel for a sentence of two years plus a day.

But the Court of Appeal upheld the sentence. The judges added that, had the Crown appealed the sentence, the higher court might have imposed an even longer sentence.

Last November Gibson was allowed out on day parole and on Wednesday he was granted full parole.

Brandon Thomas's mother, Kim Thomas, says that's not fair.

"Today he goes home and tonight he says goodnight to his mom and sleeps in his bed," she said. "I guess with sentences like this, we know why impaired driving continues."

There should be a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for death caused by drunk driving, she says.

Scholarship fundraiser

Thomas has organized a car show this weekend to raise awareness about the issue and to create a scholarship at SAIT in her son's memory.

Show Your Ride for Brandon will feature almost 700 cars, she said.

The $20 entrance fee will go toward the creation of a scholarship in the mechanics program, which Brandon wanted to enrol in. The event is at 205 Quarry Park Blvd. S.E.

"We're hoping to raise a $20,000 endowment for SAIT. This endowment will stay in Brandon's name forever. It will always be there," she said.

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