Lacombe oilfield worker guilty of drunk driving

An oilfield worker from Lacombe has been found guilty of two out of three charges laid after a fatal collision near Sylvan Lake in the fall of 2013.

An oilfield worker from Lacombe has been found guilty of two out of three charges laid after a fatal collision near Sylvan Lake in the fall of 2013.

Breton resident Randy Pinch, 41, died on Oct. 2, 2013, of injuries sustained on Sept. 12, when his northbound vehicle was struck by a southbound pickup truck attempting to turn left onto the Aspelund Road from Hwy 20.

Matthew Lawrence Engelman, now 26, went to trial last month before Justice Monica Bast in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench. He was charged with impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death, and refusing to provide police with a breath sample after causing an injury or fatal collision.

Bast returned with her decision on Wednesday, stating that she had found Engelman guilty of the impaired and refusal charges. Bast said the Crown’s evidence was not sufficient to support a charge of dangerous driving, so she would acquit on that count.

Reiterating the evidence presented at trial, Bast said Engelman’s driving pattern shortly before the crash supported the impaired driving charge, as did witness accounts from afterward of Engelman fumbling for his driver’s licence, being glossy-eyed and unsteady on his feet and smelling of alcohol.

Although some of his behaviour after the crash could be attributed to shock, his actions at the RCMP detachment in Sylvan Lake support the charge of refusal to provide a breath sample, said Bast.

Engelman was told at the site that the driver of the other vehicle was in bad shape and he asked the technician at the detachment about the consequences he would face if he chose not to give a breath sample, she said.

Sentencing has been postponed until early next year, pending a pre-sentence report estimated to take about eight weeks.

A sentencing date is to be set during arraignments in the Court of Queen’s Bench on Dec. 1.

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