June 27, 2013 - 6:13 PM
DANGEROUS DRIVER HANDED JAIL-TIME AND DRIVING PROHIBITION FOR KILLING SALMON ARM YOUTH
A 41-year-old Kelowna man was sentenced to three years in prison and four years driving prohibition today after killing a 17-year-old Salmon Arm youth in a head-on collision near Enderby in 2010.
"Rot," yelled Diane Pippus, mother of crash victim, Donovan Pippus, as Jean-Paul Kowal was taken away by the sheriff following the judge's decision.
Kowal was found guilty in March for dangerous driving causing death but was acquitted on an impaired driving charge. He testified in January that he dozed off at the wheel before crossing into oncoming traffic and hitting Pippus' car, heading home from a friend's house, head on. Crown witness testimony revealed Kowal had been driving recklessly for about a couple kilometres on Highway 97 — including tailgating and passing vehicles dangerously — before hitting Pippus and killing him.
B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops was full of Pippus' relatives today who turned up to hear the fate of Kowal nearly three years after the teenager's death. Many of them wore yellow—Pippus' favourite colour—and four of them read victim impact statements.
"I have not found a moment of peace," Donovan's mother wrote in her victim impact statement. "Don left a large mark in this world."
Diane said Donovan had his life planned out as he neared graduation, planning on becoming a millwright and settling down with his long-term girlfriend. Diane said while the court case closes, the tragedy will never end for her and her family.
"Unfortunately for my family there will never be closure," she said. "For me, this will never end."
The Crown sought a sentence of three to four years in prison as well as a four- to five-year driving prohibition.
"The offender has a driving record," said Crown prosecutor Angela Ross.
Kowal was convicted of impaired driving in 1999 and driving without due care and attention in 2006. Ross added that this conviction was for 'prolonged' aggressive driving.
"All of this was preventable," Ross said.
Defence lawyer Rishi Gill, however, requested a sentence of two years in prison and two years' driving prohibition.
Gill said one and a half years would be acceptable based on case law and added Kowal is remorseful, even having requested to serve in a federal institution—a longer jail sentence than Gill recommended—to take advantage of available federal programs.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley said Kowal exhibited a 'pattern' of poor driving behaviour.
"It was not a momentary or isolated act," Dley said, adding the prolonged dangerous driving was a 'crash waiting to happen.'
Dley said Kowal disregards others while driving and has had a profound impact with his latest conviction.
"His death has left a massive hole in the family and the community," Dley said.
The victim's mother said after the sentencing that no amount of jail could have satisfied her, however, the sentence was more than she expected. The victim's sister Sadie, however, was in tears over the judge's decision, saying three years in jail won't make up for 17 years of Donovan's life.
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(JESSICA WALLACE /InfoTel Multimedia)
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013