Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.
On June 9, 2018 at around 10:45 p.m. Ashton Michael Lewis’ car rolled over at the intersection of Railway Avenue and Pacific Street in Smithers after Lewis failed to successfully complete the turn.
Twenty-year-old Taylor Blomquist of Prince George was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene after being ejected from the vehicle.
Another individual, Keegan Leiterman, was also in the car and did not experience significant injury.
Judge Judith Doulis made the ruling June 11 at Smithers provincial court.
The court heard that before Lewis, 23, fled the scene, he and Leiterman attempted to hide beer cans that were in the car in the surrounding area.
With the help of a police dog, RCMP were able to track down Lewis and test him for impairment.
Those tests showed Lewis had between 145 and 167 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (in B.C., drivers are subject to punishment for anything above 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres, with “L” or “N” drivers in the graduated licensing program not allowed to have any alcohol in their blood at all).
An expert witness for the RCMP estimated Lewis’ speed at 75 to 86 km/h. The zone he crashed in had a speed limit of 50 km/h. Leiterman testified that he estimated Lewis’ speed at 130 km/h.
Lewis also received two concurrent six-month terms for the charges of fleeing the scene of an accident and driving while prohibited.
In victim impact statements to the court, Blomquist’s mother said the loss of her son has been inconceivable and that she may never be able to fully get over it, describing Blomquist as having a great sense of humour and lots of love for his friends and family.
His uncle, who had brought Blomquist down to Smithers to help him paint an apartment, said he still feels guilty as he had suspicions on the night in question that Lewis was intoxicated, however, still let his nephew get in the car with him.
Lewis’ driving record already included two 90-day prohibitions.
At the time of his arrest he was prohibited from driving because of a previous speeding conviction.
Lewis plead guilty to his charges and apologized to the Blomquist family in court, something Doulis said she took into consideration in handing down the ruling.