A Red Deer man who was at the wheel of a stolen car fleeing police when he crashed and his girlfriend was killed in 2019 was handed a seven-year sentence on Thursday.
Corim Conway, 31, was given six years credit for the three years he spent in custody since his arrest in July 2019 and then must serve the remaining 352 days of his sentence under house arrest for six months followed by 172 days under curfew. He was also banned from driving for three years.
Conway pleaded guilty last November to dangerous driving causing death and a number of charges related his efforts to evade police on the afternoon of July 31, 2019.
Blackfalds RCMP responded to a report of shots fired in the town about 12:30 p.m. and Conway fled in his car, colliding with an unmarked police vehicle in an alley.
He drove on, racing down Highway 2A and then into Red Deer, where the pursuit continued through a number of neighbourhoods. Conway swerved all over the road, at times into oncoming traffic, and reached speeds of 150 km/h as he fled police, at one point avoiding a spike belt.
About 1:45 p.m. the vehicle was spotted by RCMP on Highway 815 and Conway took off again heading south. He got around another spike belt before running through a stop sign at Highway 815 and Highway 11 and was T-boned by an eastbound pickup, about 15 km east of Red Deer.
Jillian Young 24, was in the passenger seat of the stolen Ford Mustang and badly injured. She was taken by EMS to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, where she died.
Conway was also badly injured and airlifted to an Edmonton hospital, where he spent four days being treated. The driver of the pickup suffered minor injuries.
Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Ola Malik said Conway led police on a “long and dangerous” pursuit and could have ended it numerous times before the fatal collision. Tests detected fentanyl, methamphetamines, cannabis and alcohol in his blood. A sawed-off shotgun was found in the trunk of the car.
“He’s lucky he did not cause more mayhem,” said Malik.
However, the judge gave him credit for pleaded guilty to a number of charges including dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, driving while being pursued by police and theft of a vehicle. He also pleaded guilty possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of a firearm while prohibited.
Malik also said he took into account Conway’s expressions of remorse, including a note he wrote to Young’s mother.
She wrote a victim impact statement to be considered in sentencing. Its contents were not read in court.
“Her loss is one that will never be made whole,” said Malik.
The judge said he believed Conway, who has a lengthy criminal record, has taken responsibility for his actions and was committed to turning his life around. Malik also noted that Conway has faced significant health issues in recent months. The court heard he has been taken to hospital numerous times to be treated for various issues such as pneumonia and pulmonary blood clots.
The judge noted that in a May 27, 2022 affadavit Conway expressed his concern for Young’s family and hated that his actions had led to her death. The judge said he believed his remorse was genuine and heartfelt.
“I really appreciate the chance I’ve been given to show you guys,” said Conway, when asked if he wanted to say anything.
Malik told him to remember Young going forward.
“I’m really going to invite you to think of how Ms. Young was and how you can live up to that memory,” he said, adding that Young’s memory could serve as a “guiding star.”
Conway said that is what he wanted to do. “She was my girlfriend. I really loved her. I still do.”
Conway must provide a DNA sample to a national database and was given a lifetime weapons prohibition.