A 54-year-old central Alberta man was sentenced two years in prison and banned from driving for four years for his role in a January 2020 fatal collision just outside Red Deer. (Advocate file photo)

2-year sentence for Central Alberta man after 2020 fatal collision

A 54-year-old central Alberta man was sentenced on Wednesday to two years in prison and banned from driving for four years for his role in a 2020 collision that killed a Red Deer man.

Kelly Torris, who lives in Rimbey, was found guilty following a trial last October for dangerous driving causing death in connection with a Jan. 23, 2020 collision at Highway 11 and Burnt Lake Trail.

Torris was westbound on Highway 11 in a semi-truck pulling a water tanker when he collided about 11:30 a.m. with a pickup being driven by Daxton Woods, 27, southbound on Burnt Lake Trail.

Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Marilyn Slawinsky accepted a joint submission from the defence and Crown prosecutor in imposing the two-year sentence.

Slawinsky said she took into account Torris’s “genuine remorse,” noting he has not been able to get behind the wheel again since the fatal collision.

While Torris had no intention of harming anyone, the collision was the result of an “unacceptable level of inattention that rises to the level of criminal culpability,” Slawinsky said.

“I have no doubt he will carry this incident for the rest of his life.”

The judge addressed members of Woods’ family, saying she knows that the “extremely tragic event” only months before Daxton was to be married will have a long-lasting impact on his family.

“There isn’t a person in his life who hasn’t suffered with his passing,” said the judge.

Victim impact statements written by Woods’ mother, father, brother and grandmother were “heart-wrenching in their grief,” she said.

The family will always wonder how their lives would be different if Daxton was alive. However, Slawinsky urged them to, in time, find it in their hearts to forgive Torris and to try to find joy and pleasure in their lives in honour of Daxton’s memory.

Torris, who is married and has three adult children, tearfully apologized to the family. “I am sorry this accident has happened and taken him away from you.”

Crown prosecutor Greg Gordon had requested a five-year driving prohibition, saying it was an aggravating factor that Torris was a professional truck driver and was expected to be more careful.

The collision was caused by his inattention over 10 seconds and 500 metres and the traffic light had been red for a number of seconds before he went through, said Gordon.

Defence lawyer Maurice Collard asked for a driving ban of two to five years, leaving the length to the judge’s discretion.

Collard said Torris was a loving family man who had a clean driving record before the fatal collision.

“This was not planned. This was not deliberate,” he said. “It was 10 seconds that is unexplainable.”

Torris was also ordered to provide a sample of his DNA to a national database.

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