Penticton man gets three months in jail for collision that claimed a life | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton man gets three months in jail for collision that claimed a life

Andrew Cook was 22 years old almost three years ago when he lost control of his vehicle on a snowy highway north of Penticton, crossed the centreline and struck an southbound vehicle.
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September 18, 2018 - 12:21 PM

PENTICTON - A Penticton man pleaded guilty in Penticton court today of driving without due care and attention in a collision which killed a woman in December 2015.

Andrew D. Cook entered a guilty plea today, Sept. 18, in Penticton Supreme Court and Justice Alison Beames accepted a joint recommendation on his sentence.

Crown prosecutor Kurt Froehlich told court Cook was driving northbound on Highway 97 around 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 24, 2015, north of Penticton near Kickininee Provincial Park.

According to witnesses, Cook was driving around 80 km/h in the 100 km/h zone when he drove into the left hand lane in an attempt to pass traffic. He lost control and crossed the median, striking a southbound vehicle driven by a 74-year-old woman.

The road conditions were poor at the time with the passing lane unplowed and snow and slush covered in places. Both drivers, who were the single occupants, had to be extricated from their vehicles and transported to Penticton Regional Hospital. The woman suffered broken ribs, a chipped pelvis and abdominal injuries that at the time were considered serious, but not life-threatening.

Paramedics transporting Cook detected the odour of alcohol when he vomited on the way to hospital, court heard. An impaired driving investigation was initiated and alcohol was detected in Cook’s blood.

The female driver remained in hospital after suffering kidney failure. She then contracted pneumonia and died on Jan. 25, 2016.

Froehlich told court issues came to light during a preliminary inquiry which took place in September and November 2017. He said it became evident during the inquiry Crown would have difficulty proving charges of impaired and dangerous driving. 

Froehlich said the joint submission came about as a result of lengthy discussions with defence lawyer Don Skogstad. The sentence recommendation also has the support of the victim’s family.

Skogstad read a statement from the accused in court, in which Cook said there were “no words to justify my actions” the day of the collision.

Skogstad said other drivers had been using the passing lane successfully that morning and his client caught some slush and lost control. He also described the highway between Penticton and Vernon as having sections where there is a concrete divider between the north and south lanes, but not in that particular location.

He said his client was of very good character, who had made a mistake.

Judge Beames agreed to the joint submission. Cook, who appeared emotional during the proceedings, was given a sentence of 90 days in jail and a two-year driving prohibition.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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