A man who ran down and killed the owner of a truck being stolen was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison on Monday.
Alexander Michael Talbot, 25, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death in Red Deer provincial court.
He had originally been charged with manslaughter for the death of Dawson “D.J.” Wegner Cramer, who was crushed between his own truck and another vehicle behind his home on March 16, 2016.
Crown prosecutor Katie Clarey and defence lawyer Andrew Phypers made a joint submission for the 3 1/2-year sentence, which was accepted by Red Deer provincial court Judge Bert Skinner.
“This is a tragic case,” said Skinner. “There’s nothing this court can do to reflect the loss inflicted on this family.”
The tragedy began when drug addict Talbot found Wegner Cramer’s truck behind his Normandeau home. He hot-wired it and when the truck started up Wegner Cramer, wearing only boots and boxer shorts and carrying a machete, rushed out to investigate.
He banged on the vehicle to get Talbot’s attention. In response, Talbot put the truck in gear and drove off, trapping Wegner Cramer between his truck and a Ford Explorer parked next to it.
A neighbour found a badly injured Wegner Cramer about 5 a.m. He was taken to hospital but died about 6:30 a.m.
Talbot said he heard a bump as he drove off but did not stop to see what he hit. The truck was recovered a short time later.
The Crown prosecutor read heart-breaking victim impact statements from Wegner Cramer’s parents and an older brother.
Wegner Cramer, who was training to be a heavy duty mechanic and had all his tools in the truck, was described as extremely intelligent, kind, thoughtful and driven.
“He was ambitious with clear determination and a plan to succeed,” says his father John in his statement.
“Our lives have changed in the worst of ways from this tragic and senseless act.”
Wegner Cramer’s mother Lynn, said her son’s death will haunt her every day for the rest of her life.
“Dawson was the embodiment of what was good and bright in the world,” she wrote.
“I feel I have been robbed not only of my son but also my joy for life.
“Dawson was given a death sentence and we were given a life sentence.”
Phypers said Talbot was extremely remorseful and did not intend to run down Wegner Cramer, which “happened in an instant.”
The judge gave Talbot credit for time served in custody since his arrest last March, leaving him with 837 days to serve. On release, he will be banned from driving for three years. He must also provide a sample of DNA to a national database and will have a lifetime weapons prohibition.
Amanda Jo-Lynn Larsen, who was charged with possession of stolen property over $5,000, for her alleged role in the theft is due to appear next in court on March 6.