Impact statements show family's pain
Jul 5, 2012 / 4:59 pm
The mother of a man who died in a horrific car crash described learning of his death as being like having her heart pulled from her chest without anaesthetic in her victim’s impact statement read in a Penticton court room on Thursday.
The statement given by Judy Lentz was one of several read by Crown counsel Jeff Dyment during the sentence hearing for Frank Tamok.
Tamok is charged with criminal negligence causing death, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failure to stop at an accident with vehicle, stemming from the multi-vehicle accident in Penticton on July 3, 2011. Several people were injured in the accident and Bradley Lentz, 32, of Devon, Alta., died.
There were no family members of Lentz, who was on a camping trip with his family at the time of his death, in court, but their suffering came through in the statements.
Lentz’s father Carl Lentz, like his wife, described being in an emotional tailspin since the day of the accident.
“It is hard to motivate myself, express my feelings,” he says.
The victim’s wife, Nancy Lentz, spoke of waking up in the vehicle after the accident and seeing her husband’s expressionless face and knowing he was gone and the heartbreak of losing the man she loved and planned to start a family with.
Some relatives spoke off feeling helpless that they couldn’t save Lentz and how terrible it was to tell other family members in the campsite that he had died.
“My children still cry at night for him,” says his sister Kelly Feser.
In his closing argument, Dyment also read from similar cases, talked about Tamoks’ prior drunk driving record and spoke of his moral culpability being very high because of his behaviour on that day.
Among his actions were driving at excessive speeds, having a blood alcohol level that was two and a half times the legal maximum, speeding through a red light and driving into the oncoming lane.
In addition had he taken the opportunity to stop at other collision scenes along Channel Parkway and Skaha Lake Road, the tragic loss of Lentz may never have occurred.
As a result, Dyment asked Judge Wilfred Klinger that Tamok, 73, be sentenced to at least five and a half to seven and a half years for the count of criminal negligence causing death, three to four years concurrently for the bodily harm count and 12 to 18 months consecutively for leaving the scene.
Defence lawyer James Pennington began by stating there was no way to adequately express the grief and loss the family members have suffered.
“It is horrific,” he says. “There is an old saying, parents should not have to bury their kids.”
Tamok, described by Pennington as a hardworking immigrant, also lives with nightmares from what took place that day and is truly remorseful for what happened.
He had admitted, however, he has an alcohol problem and acknowledges that is what got him into the fix he is in today.
Tamok is also resigned to the fact he will never drive again, already being 73 and expecting to face jail time.
Pennington asked the judge to go lighter on the accused, requesting a five year sentence with less credit for time served, ultimately ending up with a sentence of four years.
Tamok, wearing a red jumpsuit, glasses and headphones because he has a hearing problem, showed little emotion throughout the hearing.
Pennington concluded his argument by telling the judge this is a terrible case and I don’t relish the job that now lies in front of you.
“Nobody wins in this case,” he says. “The grief the family has gone through is horrendous and nothing can be said to right the wrong. He understands he will live with this for the rest of his life.”
Klinger set a date of July 19 for the accused to appear for sentencing.
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