Lacombe man gets three years for drunk driving crash

A 26-year-old Lacombe man was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday for a 2012 drunk driving crash near Sylvan Lake that killed another driver.

A 26-year-old Lacombe man was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday for a 2012 drunk driving crash near Sylvan Lake that killed another driver.

Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast sentenced Matthew Lawrence Engelman to 2 1/2 years for impaired driving causing death and a further six months for refusing to provide a breath sample.

On his release from prison, Engelman will be prohibited from driving for three years.

A witness said Engelman’s pickup had been crossing centre line and shoulder on Hwy 20 heading south when he abruptly turned left from the passing lane towards Aspelund Road and into the path of a northbound pickup driven by Randy Pinch, 41, of Breton.

The badly injured Pinch had to be cut from his vehicle following the collision about 9 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2012. He died in an Edmonton hospital less than two weeks later.

Crown prosecutor Maurice Collard asked for a sentence of four years followed by a five-to-seven-year driving prohibition.

At Pinch’s family’s request, Collard read three of seven victim impact statements provided.

Randy’s father George wrote that “I feel like my heart was ripped out of me. I still cry every day and feel empty.

“All I can say is, ‘Randy, dad loves you.’”

Randy’s mother Shirley Amero said she will never forgive Engelman for what he did.

“You took my son Randy away from me. He was my baby.”

Brother Adam Pinch said he sank into deep depression after his sibling’s death.

“I still feel like a piece of my being is missing.”

Defence lawyer Hersh Wolch, of Calgary, asked for a sentence of two years for his client.

“His remorse is genuine and sincere.”

Wolch suggested that the refusing to provide a breath sample charge be withdrawn because it was closely related to the impaired driving charge.

Bast disagreed and entered convictions on both charges.

Before sentencing, Engelman addressed the court while fighting back tears.

“I’m so very sorry,” he said addressing the half dozen Pinch family members and friends sitting in the front row.

“I had no intentions of taking somebody’s life.

I wish you find some sort of comfort and closure today and for the future.”

More than a dozen family and friends had turned out to support Engelman.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com