Full parole denied chronic drunk driver

Full parole has been denied a habitual drunk driver who is serving a 3.5-year sentence for killing two Red Deer teenagers.

Full parole has been denied a habitual drunk driver who is serving a 3.5-year sentence for killing two Red Deer teenagers.

April Gail Beauclair, 31, of Lacombe, was arrested and charged in the early hours of March 31, 2012, after driving her car at highway speed into the back of a vehicle that was being pushed along Hwy 11A by three young men from Red Deer.

Colton Keeler, 19, died at the scene. Tyson Vanderzwaag died in hospital six days later, two days after his 18th birthday. The car’s driver, who had been pushing from the side of the car, suffered serious injuries.

Beauclair was sentenced in Red Deer provincial court on Oct. 11, 2012, after pleading guilty to two counts of impaired driving causing death. She was later granted day parole, effective June 11 of this year.

In a hearing before the Parole Board of Canada on Monday, Beauclair admitted that she had become an alcoholic at an early age and driven drunk more than 50 times before the morning of the deadly crash.

She said her fiancé, who was living with her in her parents’ home, was often away working and was unaware that she had been drinking and driving, or that she was regularly using marijuana as well.

She told members of the parole board that she had asked him not to attend the hearing out of consideration for the surviving victims.

Colton Keeler’s father, Darren Keeler, said in his statement to the board that throughout the ordeal he had never once heard Beauclair say she was sorry for what she had done.

Keeler said he had concerns about her level of rehabilitation and that she could still be at risk of reoffending.

His voice trembled as he read the closing paragraph in his statement.

“I deeply miss my son. I miss the joy he brought to our lives and I will forever miss the man he was to become, the life he was to lead and the future that has forever been erased by the actions of another,” said Keeler.

Colton’s mother, Brandee Keeler, said she dislikes the person she has become since the death of her son.

“One of the only reasons I am here today is so that everyone sees the sorrow on my face and the pain in my eyes and hears the anger in my voice. It must be known that I have not forgotten nor have I forgiven what she’s done, and I never will,” she said.

“I hope with every ounce of love I have for my son that Karma will succeed where the system has failed.”

Heard sniffling at times throughout the hearing, Beauclair read a letter of apology at the end of her testimony, stating that she had not been able to say the words earlier because they sounded empty.

“Not a day goes by that my heart doesn’t ache. I’m so very sorry,” she said.

In announcing their decision, the two members of the parole board said they would decline Beauclair’s application for full parole because they believe she needs more time in a structured environment. Remarking on her plan to live in Red Deer with her fiancé, they said they do not trust his ability to monitor her actions because of the number of times she had deceived him in the past.

The board did not address whether or not her day parole, which expires on Dec. 12, should be extended.

That issue is to be reviewed with a decision to be made within the next few weeks.

Beauclair is eligible for statutory release on Feb. 10, 2015. Her sentence expires on April 10, 2015.