Drunk Driver Sentenced: 5 Years for Fatal Crash, Toddler Victim’s Family Demand Justice

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In a courtroom case, the prosecution argued that alcohol consumption influenced the incidents of a fatal collision in November 2021. The accused, Darrin Obermok, 56, received a sentence of five years in prison and a 15-year driving ban for his actions that caused severe injuries to Avery Parent and led to the tragic demise of her two-year-old son, Ethan Spada.

Outside the courthouse, the victim’s distraught grandmother, Mary Ellen Wilson lamented, “We’re not satisfied with the verdict, it won’t bring Ethan back. However, we will accept the five-year sentence, as long as Obermok serves it fully.”

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According to the accepted statement of facts, Obermok confessed that on November 10, he was speeding down Lakeshore Road 113, neglecting a stop sign at the County Road 42 intersection. Travelling at roughly 105 km/h, he recklessly charged into the intersection, causing a disastrous two-vehicle crash. The violent impact of Obermok’s SUV striking Parent’s car forced it off the road and through a metal fence, causing heavy damage to both vehicles. An empty beer can was found within Obermok’s vehicle.

The tragic event led to the untimely death of little Ethan Spada, despite being securely fastened in his rear car seat. His mother, Avery Parent, sustained serious injuries – a fractured back, three broken ribs, a concussion, and whiplash, the effects of which persist even now. Obermok also suffered a broken neck, intensifying previous injuries from a motor accident he had at 21. His medical prognosis entails a lifetime of pain management.

However, at the scene, officers failed to note any signs of impairment in Obermok’s behaviour or appearance. But at the hospital, officers reported smelling alcohol on his breath. Forensic toxicology reports indicated a blood alcohol concentration between 30 mg and 90 mg per 100 ml of blood, a level deemed potentially impairing by the presiding toxicologist.

Obermok, however, denied that substance use was a factor in the crash during his interview with a probation officer before sentencing. As such, Justice Pratt deemed his pre-sentence report as “neutral”. Despite observing Obermok’s apparent remorse, Justice Pratt expressed concern that Obermok was downplaying his issues with alcohol.

The courtroom was filled with over 20 members of the Parent-Spada family during the sentencing hearing. Eight family members provided victim impact statements illustrating the profound effect Ethan Spada’s short life had on their family. The family’s heartfelt statements visibly moved Justice Pratt, who had to take a brief recess while he was reading them aloud.

Upon returning, he asked the Crown to share his written sentencing decision with the Parent-Spada family and opted to not continue reading the victims’ impact statements aloud. Justice Pratt highlighted the immense emotional pain suffered by Ethan’s mother in lieu of discussing her own physical afflictions.

Among the attendees at the court hearing were eight members of Obermok’s family, including his ex-wife and three children. Despite acknowledging their father’s grievous offence, they asserted his fundamental goodness. Underscoring this sentiment, Justice Pratt told the Obermok family “He is being sentenced today for what he did, not for who he is.”

Throughout the sentencing, Obermok showed visible remorse, sitting silently beside his attorney, Evan Weber. Justice Pratt applauded his clear intentions of pleading guilty, which saved the court from a long, taxing trial.

Despite his lawyer’s plea for a lighter sentence, Justice Pratt took into account Obermok’s minor criminal record, his remorse, and his serious injuries. However, the severity of the crime he committed outweighed these factors. He wrote, “Mr. Obermok chose to drink and get behind the wheel of his vehicle. In court, he confessed he didn’t know why he didn’t stop. It can be reasonably inferred he was under the influence at the time of the collision.”

Consequently, Darrin Obermok was sentenced to five years in prison and given a 15-year driving ban, concurrent on both counts.