Driver of speedboat gets three-year sentence after death conviction | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Driver of speedboat gets three-year sentence after death conviction

June 02, 2016 - 5:10 PM

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - The driver of a speedboat involved in a fatal houseboat crash on British Columbia's Shuswap Lake has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Leon Reinbrecht, 54, was convicted on one count each of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm following a trial last year.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan also handed Reinbrecht a five-year ban from operating a vessel after he is released.

"While Mr. Reinbrecht did not set out to harm anyone that night, he took a risk," Donegan said Thursday about the crash on July 3, 2010.

"There was evidence in this case of extreme behaviour, bravado and machismo," she said. "Mr. Reinbrecht made what can only be described as terrible decisions that had catastrophic consequences."

Reinbrecht was behind the wheel of a speedboat after a Canada Day fireworks display on Magna Bay.

Court heard he was driving recklessly before smashing into a houseboat piloted by Ken Brown, who was killed. Eight others were injured.

Brown's sister Patti Oliver said she's relieved that Reinbrecht has finally been sentenced and that the family won't have to return to court after such a long process.

"It's been six years, it's hard to digest," she said. "I'm just now starting to feel the effects of it," she said.

Todd Stone (not the politician), who suffered two collapsed lungs and several broken bones when he was struck on the houseboat, described the scene.

"There was an awful lot of traffic," he told court, adding he was standing next to Brown.

"I had my right shoulder against one doorjamb, he had his left shoulder on the other,'' Stone said. "He's steering as we looked out the front of the boat.

"I must have turned to look at someone and I heard Ken say, 'What's this guy doing?' When I turned to look, all I could see was the boat coming over the bow."

Stone was struck by the boat and injured.

"After that, I remember the speedboat motor or propeller screaming," he said, becoming emotional. "After that shut off, I knew I had to get up and do something or I was going to die."

Stone testified he has no memory of what happened next.

Other witnesses said they saw a boat driving erratically and at high speed prior to the crash.

Last month, Reinbrecht's lawyer Joe Doyle argued unsuccessfully that the convictions should be overturned because his client was denied his right to a speedy trial.

(Kamloops This Week; CFJC)

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly used the judge's last name instead of Reinbrecht in the first quote.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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