Jail time in car-surfing death

The man behind the wheel in a tragic car-surfing death will spend the next nine months in jail.

Earlier this month Byron Walterhouse, 42, pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death.

Charges of dangerous driving causing death and failure to stop at an accident causing death were stayed by the Crown.

The charges stem from an incident in June 1, 2016 when Justin Roger Martyn, 27, of Spallumcheen, was riding on top of Walterhouse's vehicle along Tronson Road.

However, the road comes to a sudden end just past Garmisch Road and Walterhouse was unable to stop resulting in his vehicle rolling over, killing Martyn.

Along with the jail sentence, Justice Richard Hewson also imposed a three-year driving ban on Walterhouse.

Crown Council Juan O'uinn was seeking a sentence of 24-36 months to be served in a federal penitentiary.

Defence was seeking a sentence of 60-90 days, to be served on weekends at the Vernon RCMP detachment.

In rendering his decision, Hewson noted Walterhouse and Martyn had been friends for a decade and the support for Walterhouse from Martyn's family was “obvious.

“Mr. Martyn's sister, Amber Corkum, wrote a letter which has been filed in court. The letter reads in part, “Byron is a sweet, kind and genuinely caring man,” said Hewson, noting Martyn's mother also wrote a letter in which she said Walterhouse is an “honest, loving and very supportive friend. He has so suffered with me ever since the accident happened and stood by to help out through this agonizing time. I do not know what I would have done without him.”

Hewson also noted that while Martyn and the other two passengers in the car had consumed alcohol prior to the accident, Walterhouse had not.

Hewson noted Martyn climbed on top of the car – something he had done in the past - and Walterhouse continued to drive until crashing at the end of Tronson Road.

Hewson said there were three mitigating factors in his decision: Walterhouse's genuine remorse, forgiveness from Martyn's family and Walterhouse's guilty plea, lack of criminal record and good character.

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