After previously pleading guilty to five charges, a crying Tyler James Stevens was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for causing a fatal crash that took the lives of four Filipino workers and seriously injuring a fifth.
Stevens, 30, appeared in a Red Deer, Alberta courtroom yesterday for sentencing. As Global News reports, the sentence was a joint submission made by the prosecutor and Stevens' lawyer. As his family looked on, Stevens cried, apologized and told the court he was praying for the families of the victims. He also said he would do what he could to help those families financially. The 30-year-old, who is part owner of an international oilfield service company, had no previous criminal record.
Family members of the victims were also in court including the sister of one of the deceased workers and the son of another. The emotional family members provided victim impact statements to the court and CBC quotes Stevens as telling the family members, "I'm so sorry for all the pain I've caused you."
Last September, Stevens pleaded guilty to four counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. In exchange for the guilty pleas, charges of impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm were withdrawn by the prosecutor. Although Stevens had refused to provide breath samples, blood tests after the accident revealed he had more than three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.
On March 4, 2012, Stevens, who had taken prescription medication in addition to drinking, drove his Range Rider northbound in the southbound lanes of Highway 2 and collided head-on with the rental SUV carrying the Filipino workers.
Killed were Anthony Subong Castillon, 35, Joey Flores Magnonon, 35, Eden Dalu Blazon, 35, and Josefina Flores, 52. Josephine Tamondong was the only survivor in the SUV.
All victims were living and working in Edmonton. As reported by the Calgary Herald, Tamondong, the survivor, had been working at the Court Edmonton Plaza hotel for the past 3 1/2 years, sending money back to her family in the Philippines. She had just received papers approving her application for permanent residency in Canada.
Permanent residency can only be granted to someone in her position upon entry into Canada. The five friends were on their way to the Montana border to enter the United States and then return to Canada so Tamondong could become a permanent resident upon re-entry.
Tamondong was quoted in the Herald as saying, " They wanted to celebrate with me. It was supposed to be a happy moment."
Stevens was given credit for the 24 days he spent in pre-trial custody. Upon his release, he will be prohibited from driving anywhere in Canada for six years.