A Coquitlam man was sentenced to two years behind bars and three years probation last week after pleading guilty to charges related to a car crash in 2009 that killed one of his passengers and badly injured another.
Spencer Brian Berg had been drinking and was behind the wheel of a four-door 1998 Honda Accord when it struck a hydro pole near 152 Street near 92 Avenue in Surrey in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving 2009.
The force of the collision ripped the vehicle in half, injuring Berg and another passenger and killing 19-year-old Ryan Grant, also Coquitlam resident, who was sitting in the back seat.
Police said high speed was a factor and Berg was believed to have had more than twice the legal limit of blood alcohol in his system. He pleaded guilty to one count of driving with a blood-alcohol level over .08 causing death and one count of driving with a blood-alcohol level over .08 causing bodily harm.
"This case has, once again, brought home the horrific, horrendous and heart-rending consequences of driving while impaired with alcohol," said Winston Sayson, senior Crown counsel in the case. "The sentence of the court should remind the public that a significant jail term awaits those who still foolishly choose to drink and drive."
At his sentencing hearing last Thursday, Brock Martland, Berg's lawyer, had asked the court for a one-year to 18-month jail sentence and a one-year driving ban.
But Surrey provincial court Judge Ellen Gordon disagreed, siding with the Crown in saying that a two-year sentence and three years probation was appropriate.
She said the fact the accused had been drinking and was only three months into a two-year probation order for robbery when he committed the driving offence weighed in her decision.
Berg will have to supply a DNA sample and will be prohibited from driving for the first year of his release. In the second and third years of his probation period, he will be allowed to drive but only for work purposes.