Defence attorney Hugh Sommerville spoke to the court saying while Schwarz never intended to drive in a dangerous manner, his lack of caution had catastrophic consequences.
The court heard that on the evening of the accident, the two friends were southbound on Highway 9, descending into the valley on the North Hill. Schwarz reached for the cigarette lighter as the road curved, and his right tires went over the shoulder. He over-corrected and veered back onto the road. The truck rolled at least once, and Raisebeck was ejected.
Accident reconstructionists ruled out mechanical or road conditions as factors. His estimated his speed at the time of the incident was 103 kilometres. While he was in a 70-kilometre zone, it was acknowledged the sign was not visible at the time. The agreed on statement of facts concluded that alcohol was not a factor in the incident.
Sommerville described his client’s remorse as almost endless and he has not driven or taken a drink since. Raisebeck’s mother also addressed the court in support of Schwarz. She said Schwarz is a good kid and that the tragedy will affect them all for the rest of their lives.
In light of Schwarz’s positive pre-sentence report, the fact he pleaded guilty, expressed remorse and has started rehabilitation. Judge Les Grieve agreed with a joint submission from the Crown and defence that a conditional sentence order would be suitable.
Schwarz is to serve an 18-month conditional sentence order, with the first six months under house arrest. The remainder of his sentence he is to abide by a curfew. He is prohibited from alcohol for the duration of his sentence and his driver’s licence will be suspended provincially. Judge Grieve also fined Schwarz $2,000.