Man found guilty in fatal impaired driving crash, to be sentenced Aug. 1
Published Thursday, May 15, 2014 11:55AM MDT Last Updated Thursday, May 15, 2014 7:16PM MDT
In a Wetaskiwin courtroom Thursday, the man charged in a drunk driving crash that left three young men dead in 2011 appeared before a judge.
Jonathan Pratt, 30, had pleaded not guilty to nine charges, including three counts each of manslaughter, impaired driving causing death and driving over .08 causing death.
On Thursday, a judge found Pratt guilty on all nine counts.
The judge had accepted evidence from a vehicle crash data recorder that found Pratt had been operating his truck at a speed of 199 kilometres an hour, while the smaller car was driving at 70 kilometres an hour.
Inside that car were 18-year-olds Bradley Arsenault, Kole Novak and Thaddeus Lake, 22 – and all died in the collision.
Evidence showed Pratt made no attempt to brake or swerve and avoid slamming into the smaller car, court also heard that Pratt’s blood alcohol level that night was found to be more than two and a half times the legal limit.
Officials said those facts led to the conviction of manslaughter – rare in this type of case.
“When we were doing our research all across Canada there was less than a dozen [convictions] we were able to find,” Crown Prosecutor Ryan Pollard said.
In addition, the judge said the Crown proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Pratt was indeed behind the wheel.
“It was an impossibility to think that anybody else could have been associated with that accident or that they could have walked away from that accident,” Zane Novak, Kole Novak’s father, said.
It’s something Pratt still wouldn’t admit outside of court Thursday.
Later Thursday, three of the charges – operating a vehicle in excess of a legal limit – were stayed.
The Crown could ask for a sentence of 8 to 10 years behind bars.
Pratt will be sentenced August 1.
With files from Amanda Anderson