A judge heard the horrific facts surrounding a car crash that took the life of two young people on Highway 21 north of Trochu in June 2022; Richard Bell of Elnora appeared in the Alberta Court of Justice in Drumheller on Tuesday, October 31.
The judge accepted guilty pleas to two charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, one charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm and one charge of failing to comply with a lawful demand.
Bell was facing charges stemming from a collision on June 17, which claimed the lives of Macy Boyce, 20, and Ethan Halford, 21.
The court heard that on June 17, Bell and Scott Klatt were travelling to Hanna in a Kia. Earlier, Bell had fallen from a ladder and hurt his back, and he would self-medicate with Tylenol 3 and oxycodone to deal with the pain.
During this trip, the pair stopped in Drumheller and purchased Twisted Tea.
When they arrived in Hanna, Bell dropped his friend at a girlfriend's home, and went grocery shopping; he continued to drink.
Bell, Klatt and Veronica Neuman then left Hanna and headed toward Elnora.
As Bell was driving, he asked for hydromorphone to be crushed to consume for his pain. He was provided with the substance and was told it was Fentanyl. He stopped briefly, but continued to drive.
Initially, he appeared groggy, but his driving became erratic, at times, driving up to 200 kilometres per hour (KPH).
At 9:55 p.m. the Kia rear-ended a Hyundai. The Kia was travelling at 196 KPH, and brakes were applied 1.5 seconds before the collision, hitting the car at 170 KPH.
The collision pushed the Hyundai into an oncoming picker truck.
Following the collision that killed Boyce and Halford, Bell appeared to be overdosed, and Narcan was administered. RCMP arrested Bell. He was transported to the hospital and refused a demand for a blood sample.
The judge accepted the agreed statements of facts. Bell will return for sentencing on February 1, 2024.