Man responsible for deaths of Saskatoon couple sentenced to six years

SASKATOON — A man responsible for the deaths of a married couple from Saskatoon in a drunk driving crash has been sentenced to six years in jail and has been banned from driving for 15 years.

Tyler Seeley pleaded guilty to two counts of impaired driving causing death.

Court heard that on Jan. 23 around 6 p.m., Seeley swerved out of his lane on Highway 41 and crashed into a truck near Aberdeen.

Marjorie Classen, who was 67, died at the scene and Gord Classen, who was 74, died in hospital nearly a month later.

Seeley’s blood alcohol level was double the legal limit and two alcoholic beverage cans were found around the crash scene.

Seeley has a history of impaired driving and other offences included speeding, driving out of his lane and driving while suspended.

In his victim impact statement, Greg Classen shared his grief and struggled to grasp with the deaths of his mom and dad.

“I lost both my parents within three weeks,” Greg Classen told court.

“My mentor is gone. I can no longer ask .125my dad.375 for his advice … My mom, who always gave time to others, was about to take time for herself in retirement — but her time was taken.”

Married for 47 years, the Classens loved each other like newlyweds, according to victim impact statements.

They volunteered, played pickleball, attended the theatre, loved dancing, watched Saskatchewan Roughriders games and spent time with their three kids and two grandchildren.

Marjorie Classen worked at a long-term care home and sang in a choir. She baked the best buns and could hold up grocery store lines, telling stories about her family, her nephew said.

Gord Classen was a farmer. He built backyard hockey rinks in the winter, and “there was nothing he couldn’t fix.”

Provincial court Judge Doug Agnew said Saskatchewan has an “incredible problem” when it comes to impaired driving. He could only recall one day when there wasn’t an impaired driving case on the court docket.

Seeley’s sentencing was held at the Sheraton Hotel, instead of a courtroom, to accommodate for COVID-19 physical distancing rules.

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