Emotions ran high yesterday as relatives impacted by a horrific five-person traffic fatality read victim impact statements to a packed courtroom.
“It’s a very powerful public display of the enormity of the crime,” said crown prosecutor Jonathan Hak during a break from the sentencing hearing for Daniel Tschetter.
Tschetter was convicted of five counts of manslaughter and one of attempting to obstruct justice stemming from a Dec. 7, 2007 accident that claimed the lives of Christopher Gautreau, 41, his daughters Alexia, 9, and Kiarra, 6, his girlfriend Melaina Hovdebo, 33, and her son Zachary, 16 months.
“My life has been smashed into pieces,” said Previna Jaiwan-Gautreau, Alexia and Kiarra’s mom. “Nothing can put my family back into shape as it once was.”
While Hak submitted that Tschetter deserves a jail sentence between 11 to 16 years, defence lawyer Balfour Der argued that Tschetter should be sentenced to three years of house arrest.
Tschetter also addressed the court to express remorse for rear-ending the victims’ vehicle at the intersection of Macleod Trail and 194th Ave.
“If I could exchange my life for the five that I took and take away the grief that your family and my family is enduring, I would do so,” said the Cochrane cement truck driver.
Following the hearing, Zachary’s dad Lee Cameron said he’s not ready to forgive Tschetter.
“I’m not at that point,” said Cameron, who was wearing a button with a smiling picture of his son. “I would like to probably go toward the idea (that) he is a human being, he does have feelings. Perhaps it was sincere. I’m so numb right now, I really don’t know.”
Judge Bruce Fraser will deliver his sentencing judgment on Oct. 7.