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Football player had suicidal thoughts

The lone survivor of a crash that killed four high school football players in northern Alberta says he thought about suicide after the collision.

Zach Judd has told a court that when he heard that four of his teammates had died, he wished he had died too.

"I feel I should be dead instead of my friends," Judd said in a victim impact statement Tuesday.

The teen was speaking at the sentencing hearing for Brenden Holubowich.

The 23-year-old has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

The Crown and defence have agreed to a prison sentence of three years and a driving prohibition for another three years. The judge is to rule on that Wednesday.

Holubowich's pickup truck collided with a car carrying five members of the Warriors football team from Grande Prairie Composite High School on October 22, 2011.

Court heard Holubowich had earlier been drinking with co-workers at a Grande Prairie bowling alley and was driving at speeds as high as 151 km/h on Highway 668 on the way home to Wembley, Alta.

The football players had been at a party outside the city and were making a U-turn when the truck struck the car's rear driver's side.

Walter Borden-Wilkins and Tanner Hildebrand, both 15, and Matthew Deller and Vince Stover, both 16, were killed.

Autopsy results on Deller, the driver, showed he had no alcohol or drugs in his system.

Judd spent several weeks in a coma suffering from brain injuries, but slowly recovered.

He said he lost hearing in one ear and that affected his balance.

He hasn't been able to get his driver's licence back and will never play football again.

About 80 people turned out to witness the plea, so many that court staff had to move the proceedings to a larger room. Many were wearing orange Warriors sweatshirts with the boys' football numbers on them. Their families were among the spectators.

Some of Holubowich's relatives were also in court, often in tears. It appeared Holubowich, a tall, strapping, heavy-duty mechanic apprentice, was trying not to cry as well when he uttered his guilty pleas in a hushed voice.

Defence lawyer Chris Millsap described his client as a humble young man, full of regret, who will never forget what he did.

"This is a kind, very young man, who for a split second, made a horrible decision."

The Canadian Press


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