A Red Deer man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of over 0.08, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, operating a vehicle while disqualified and mischief by damaging property in relation to a collision in Oct. 2009 with another vehicle that left a 13-year-old girl injured.
Vasile Bebe Clement, 55, of Red Deer will return to court in Red Deer on July 7 for sentencing.
His defence lawyer John MacNaughton argued for a discharge.
MacNaughton said his client has undergone treatment for alcohol dependency and he spoke about his client’s many ailments brought on by his alcohol abuse, including heart disease, diabetes, the removal of his gall bladder and steatosis, also known as fatty liver disease.
As a 34-year-old Clement was a political prisoner in Romania before finally escaping to a United Nations refugee camp and then Canada more than 20 years ago.
MacNaughton said on the night of the collision on Oct. 6, 2009, Clement had gone to a colleague’s home, where they drank homemade alcohol.
It was of such a strength that Clement became incredibly intoxicated and blacked out.
At around 7 p.m., Clement was driving when he was involved in a hit and run collision near the Clearview neighbourhood, striking a car from behind.
A 13-year-old passenger in the car had to be taken by ambulance to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Clement didn’t stop, but drove over a dirt hill, through a chain-link fence and into a parking lot before colliding with a tree.
A civilian pursued him and reported to police what had happened.
MacNaughton said his client doesn’t remember anything before the vehicle stopped when it hit the tree.
“It scared him sir,” he said.
He said Clement wasn’t scared about the damage or the possibility of jail time, but said he would not be able to live with himself if he caused someone serious injury or death.
MacNaughton asked for a discharge for his client.
But Crown Murray McPherson did not agree and strongly opposed the discharge.
He pointed to Clement’s blood alcohol level of 190 mg per 100 ml, to the fact that Clement caused a serious vehicle collision and then fled the scene.
He said this is a horror that the public has grown alarmed by. “It’s as serious as it gets,” McPherson said. Clement was convicted in 1998 and 2006 on impaired driving offences.
McPherson said a discharge would be against the public interest, would not be an adequate deterrent and would send the wrong message to the public.
He asked for four to six months of jail time.