Man sentenced to five years for impaired driving causing death

  • Aug. 24, 2016 2:35 p.m.

A man charged after he ran his girlfriend over with her car in Penhold last year has been sentenced.

Jason Powell, 41, was sentenced to five years in prison on Monday after he pleaded guilty to charges in relation to the death of Chasity Holman, 41, last November. Because of time already served as Powell has been in custody since Nov. 5th, 2015, the remainder of his sentence yet to serve is three years and 294 days.

Powell pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death, refusing a breath sample and driving while disqualified on Monday morning in Red Deer’s Provincial Court. A three-day trial was scheduled to take place this week until Wednesday.

Court heard an Agreed Statement of Facts on Monday morning which stated that Powell and Holman, a mother of four, had been in an intermittent relationship for about six months before she was killed.

On Nov. 5th, 2015, Powell spent most of the day drinking alcohol while Holman was at work – at a construction site on Waskasoo Ave. in Penhold where she worked as a heavy equipment operator. As previously arranged, Powell was scheduled to pick Holman up from her work at the end of the day.

The Agreed Statement of Facts stated Powell went to pick Holman up at 4:45 p.m. At 4:46 p.m. police received a complaint regarding his driving pattern. Powell arrived at Holman’s workplace and Holman approached the vehicle. She said she would not get in the vehicle as Powell was drunk and an argument ensued.

Holman, who was wearing a safety vest at the time, began to walk away on the shoulder of the road. Powell, who had two impaired driving convictions and a driving while disqualified conviction prior to this incident, followed Holman and a few hundred metres from her work site struck her with the vehicle he was driving. A collision analyst determined that Powell was traveling 78 km/hr when he hit her.

Court heard there were no eyewitnesses to the collision but witnesses did hear tires squealing. Following the collision, Powell exited the vehicle and ran to one of Holman’s co-workers advising that he had hit her with the vehicle.

As resuscitation efforts were underway, Powell was found by police sitting on a bench inside a busy multiplex in Penhold where he was arrested. Police indicated that Powell’s speech was slurred and his balance was unsteady at the time of his arrest.

A number of victim impact statements were read before Powell’s sentence was handed down.

Holman’s mother said the death of her daughter has changed her.

“I am a total wreck,” she said. “I miss her so bad. She was my rock. This has totally destroyed my family. I will never been the same.”

Crown Prosecutor Ed Ring and Defense Lawyer Maurice Collard each asked that a sentence of four and a half years be imposed. Ring also asked that a 10 year driving prohibition following Powell’s release also be given – this was granted in addition to the penitentiary sentence handed down.

Before handing down his sentence, Judge Bert Skinner said this was an unnecessary tragedy.

“In a case like this, it was totally avoidable and totally unnecessary. This is a case of someone who was disqualified from driving showing a lack of respect of the law and the public,” he said.

In addition, Powell addressed the court on Monday. “I am truly sorry that I took Chasity away from all of us. There is no amount of jail time that will bring her back,” he said. “If I could change what happened or switch places with her, I would.

“I take full responsibility of my actions that day. I want you all to know that in my heart, I am truly sorry.”