Nine months for Salmon Arm man involved in "roof surfing" accident that killed friend - InfoNews

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Nine months for Salmon Arm man involved in "roof surfing" accident that killed friend

January 17, 2019 - 2:55 PM

VERNON - A man who pled guilty in a car "roof surfing" accident that killed his friend received a nine-month prison sentence today.

Byron Walterhouse, 42, appeared in Vernon court accompanied by several friends and family members today, Jan. 17, to hear his sentence. Judge Hewson ordered Walterhouse to serve nine-months incarceration followed by a three-year driving prohibition for his involvement in his friend Justin Martyn's accidental death nearly three years ago. Hewson did not impose probation.

On Jan. 14, Walterhouse pled guilty to charges of criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death, and failure to stop at accident causing death. These charges stemmed from Jun. 1, 2016, when Walterhouse and Martyn were driving with friends around Vernon and Okanagan Lake.

Martyn had been drinking and he climbed onto the roof of the car to "surf." Walterhouse kept driving until he abruptly arrived at a dead end on Tronson Road. Walterhouse slammed the brakes and the car hit a curb, flying into the air. It crushed Martyn as it landed, killing him. He was 27.

Judge Hewson laid out the reasoning for the sentence in his decision. He said Walterhouse's culpability for the accident was high. By driving and allowing Martyn to stay on the roof, Hewson said Walterhouse engaged in extremely risky activity.

"Although Mr. Martyn's death was not intended, it was completely foreseeable," he said.

Hewson said Walterhouse's obvious regret over the accident was a mitigating factor.

"I am completely satisfied that Byron Walterhouse's remorse is real," he said. "If he were able to trade places with Justin Martyn today, he would."

Hewson also noted Martyn's family's support for Walterhouse after the accident as a mitigating factor. He referred to a letter submitted to the court from Martyn's sister Amber Corkum which described Walterhouse as a "sweet, kind, and genuinely caring man."

Crown attorneys had asked for 24 to 36 months in prison for Walterhouse while his defence lawyer Jonathan Avis had asked for a 60 to 90 day sentence to be served on weekends. Hewson ultimately settled on nine months.

Walterhouse was escorted out of the courtroom by sheriffs to begin serving his sentence.

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