Heartbreaking stories of family and friends left devastated by the loss of a couple in a fatal motorcycle collision last year were heard in a Red Deer courtroom Thursday.
Brent Keryluke, 35, and his wife Nicole, 34, were killed May 5, 2018, while riding their motorcycle when a pickup made a left turn into their path on Highway 590 near Innisfail. The couple had two young children, Liam, now four, and Arielle, who is seven.
Earlier Thursday, Red Deer provincial court Judge Darrell Riemer found Mike Klassen, of Ponoka, guilty of making an unsafe left turn causing the afternoon collision.
Brent’s parents, Ben and Marilyn Keryluke, are caring for his children, thrust into the role of parents at a time when they had expected to be doting grandparents.
The deaths of Nicole and Brent, the day before his 36th birthday, have had a devastating impact on the entire family, especially the two children who lost dedicated and loving parents.
“Brent and Nicole were very involved and active parents,” read Marilyn from the couple’s victim impact statement, one of 20 submitted to the judge. “The children had a happy home with parents who nurtured their self-esteem and brought out the best in them.”
Each holiday and significant date has been difficult, especially Christmas, Brent and Nicole’s favourite time of year.
Nicole’s parents, Claude and Irene Houle, said in their statement “there are no words to express how much we miss her.”
On May 5, a couple lost their lives “but so many others will be feeling that loss for years to come.”
Chris Doré was one of Brent’s best friends. The two grew up together playing sports, taking trips going to concerts, and not long before his death, working together at the same company.
Brent taught him to ride a motorcycle so well he passed the test the first time, using the bike Brent was riding when he was hit.
“Due to this accident, I’m not sure I will ever get on a bike again,” he said.
Judge Riemer said in giving his decision that while the Kerylukes’ motorcycle was speeding, Klassen had about six seconds to see it as it crested a small hill before he made his left turn.
The motorcyclists “should have been clearly visible to the driver of the truck had he been keeping a proper lookout,” said Riemer.
Klassen had already started making his left turn when he looked down the road to ensure it was clear, said the judge. By then, it was too late and the motorcycle hit the front left corner of Klassen’s Ford F-550.
Klassen was fined $2,300 and some restrictions were put on his driving with exceptions for work and other requirements for six months.