The drunk driver who killed a local couple who were parents to five young children will go to jail for two years and three months – a sentence that has left the families of the victims heartbroken once again.
Chad Olsen, 24, of Sedalia, appeared in Red Deer provincial court last Wednesday morning for his sentencing hearing. Last November he pleaded guilty to two counts of impaired driving causing death.
Brad and Krista Howe were killed on Feb. 7, 2010 at about 2 a.m. after the truck that Olsen was driving slammed into them at the intersection of Ironstone Dr. and 30 Ave. Brad and Krista were pronounced dead on the scene and Olsen was taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries. His blood alcohol level was found to have been three times over the legal limit.
RCMP investigation determined that Olsen ran a red light and was going at least 85 km/hr on 30th Ave. which has a posted speed limit of 60 km/hr.
Krista, 35, was an engineer at ME Global Canada Inc., at Prentiss and Brad, 34, was an engineer at Nova Chemicals in Joffre.
Last week, about 100 people packed the courtroom where more than 12 victim impact statements were read, including two from Brad and Krista’s children.
Sandra Green, Krista’s mother said the couple’s daughter Molly, now seven-years-old, wrote in a birthday card to her mom “How is heaven? I miss you a lot.”
Crown prosecutor Charlotte Oxford, who asked for a sentence of 3.5 years in jail, also detailed Olsen’s extensive driving record.
From 2005-2010, Olsen received nine speeding tickets as well as multiple other tickets including a ticket for an alcohol related suspension in December of 2008 and a number of tickets for failing to stop, failing to obey traffic control, crossing a double solid line, driving left of centre and driving while unauthorized.
Olsen also spoke in court telling Brad and Krista’s family and friends that he was sorry for what he did.
“I apologize for all the pain and suffering I’ve caused. I don’t know if I will ever forgive myself for what I’ve done,” he said. “This was truly the biggest mistake of my life. One I will never forget.”
He added he wishes the best for Brad and Krista’s five children who are now aged 6, 8, 10, 11 and 15.
“I know I am sorry to them for taking the most important and influential people out of their lives,” said Olsen.
Outside the courthouse, Green spoke with media and expressed her disappointment with the sentencing.
“It’s a huge insult. Two people, two years and three months. There’s not balance, there’s no justice. It’s not right at all.
“Our sentence is for life and it was dictated by Chad Olsen whose sentence is two years and three months. Most likely he’ll be out before the year is up.”
She added it was difficult to hear Olsen speak and offer his apologies during the hearing.
“Truthfully, that’s the first syllable we have heard as a family from his family or him. He pleaded guilty. We’ve never received one syllable of sympathy or ‘sorry or is there anything we can do’,” said Green. “You have to wonder is he sorry for us, or is he sorry for him?
“I hope he’s realized the impact already by now. I hope he is sorry and I hope he does something with it and I hope he’ll speak to other people who could be him.”
Green said she would like to see Olsen do something more concrete to show his remorse.
“He needs to get out there and tell his story. If he is genuinely remorseful and genuinely sorry for what he has done he needs to put that into action and that’s the way he can do it.”
She added the family will now try and move forward.
“Our family will do what our family has always done – we’ll just put one foot in front of the other and we’ll carry on. We’ll raise these children.”
As part of Olsen’s sentence, a five-year driving ban was also imposed.