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'It doesn't bring Ethan back': Lakeshore resident gets 5-year prison sentence for dangerous driving

Court heard the accused was “at least somewhat under the influence” of alcohol at the time of the Nov. 2021 collision.

Darrin Obermok, 56, was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison and a 15-year ban on driving for his actions that seriously injured Avery Parent and killed her two-year-old son Ethan Spada.

“We’re not happy with anything,” his grandmother, Mary Ellen Wilson told CTV News outside the courthouse. “It doesn’t bring Ethan back no matter what he (Obermok) got but we’ll take the five years, as long as he stays in prison for five.”

The collision:

In an agreed statement of facts, Obermok has admitted that on Nov. 10, he was driving “at a high rate of speed” on Lakeshore Road 113 at the intersection of County Road 42.The two-vehicle crash took place at the intersection of County Road 42 and Renaud Line Road in Lakeshore on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Source: _OnLocation_ / Twitter)

“Mr. Obermok did not heed the warning of a stop sign ahead,” Justice Pratt explained. “He did not stop at the stop sign, or even slow. Instead, going approximately 105 kmh, he entered the intersection at the worst possible moment.”

Obermok’s SUV struck Parent’s SUV on the side.

The force of the collision pushed her SUV off the roadway and through a metal fence. Both vehicles were “heavily damaged”.

Inside the Obermok’s vehicle the OPP found an empty beer can.

The injuries:

Even though Spada was properly secured in his correctly installed rear car seat, efforts to save his life were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at hospital less than an hour after the collision.

His mother suffered serious injuries including a broken back, three broken ribs, a concussion and whiplash; injuries she continues to struggle with.

Obermok suffered a broken neck; injuries that exacerbated previous motor vehicle collision injuries at the age of 21.

A doctor told the court Obermok will need “pain management for the rest of his life”.

The facts:

Although officers at the scene did not detect “behaviour or appearance of impairment”, in the hospital, police reported an odour of alcohol on Obermok’s breath.

A forensic toxicology report showed the blood alcohol concentration was between 30 mg and 90mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.

According to Justice Pratt, the toxicologist “opined that Mr. Obermok could have been impaired at the lower end of that range and would have been impaired at the higher end.”

In his pre-sentence report a probation officer wrote “the offender was adamant during the interview that he was not intoxicated at the time of the offence and denied that substance use was a factor.”

As a result, Justice Pratt called Obermok’s pre-sentence report “neutral”.

“On the one hand, Mr. Obermok is clearly remorseful. On the other, it seems to me he is minimizing his issues with alcohol.”

The victims:

More than 20 members of the Parent-Spada family packed into provincial court Wednesday for the sentencing.The Parent-Spada families brought this collage of pictures to court Tuesday, of Ethan Spada, 2, killed in a collision on Nov. 2021. (Michelle Maluske/CTV Windsor)

“We could have stuffed more people in there but the courtrooms weren’t big enough,” grandmother Mary Allen Wilson told CTV News. “It’s killed my daughter and its broken our family.”

Eight members of the Parent and Spada families submitted victim impact statements for Justice Scott Pratt to consider on sentencing.

They detail the impact Ethan Spada had on the family, even at a young age.

“He’d talk like a five year old,” Wilson said. “You could have a conversation with him, you know, it was just… He was just unbelievable.”

“I have worked in the criminal justice system for nearly 25 years,” Justice Pratt read to the court. “I have read of countless lives ruined by criminal conduct. But I have never had a group of statements quite like the ones filed in this case.”

The judge started to read his interpretation of their “eloquent testimony of loss and pain” when he himself appeared to be overcome by emotion and he stepped down from the bench for a brief recess.

When he returned, Justice Pratt asked the Crown to share his written sentencing decision with the Parent-Spada family; choosing to not continue reading the victim impact statements aloud in court.

They describe, in part, the serious injuries Parent suffered and Justice Pratt noted that in her Victim Impact Statement Ethan’s mother spoke very little about her own suffering.

“It is as though her physical pain has been wholly displaced by her emotional pain,” Justice Pratt wrote.

Wilson told CTV News that was when the family felt the sentence “was going to be in our favour”.

Justice Pratt also noted that first responders are also victimized by responding to “difficult and at times horrific scenes.”

The accused:

At a previous court appearance Obermok pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

In court Wednesday were approximately eight members of his family included his ex-wife and three children.

One of them told the court “at the end of the day my dad did a bad thing, but I promise you he is not a bad person.”

“I do not think your father and husband is a bad person,” Justice Pratt said to the Obermok family “He is being sentenced today for what he did, not for who he is”

During the sentencing, Obermok appeared to be emotional but sat quietly beside his lawyer Evan Weber.

The judge gave Obermok credit for his “clear and genuine remorse”.

According to Justice Pratt, Obermok expressed his intentions to plead guilty, sparing the court a trial.

And, even when the Crown looked to “seek a much higher sentence”, Obermoks’ intention to plead guilty remained.

“That is significant and it underscores Mr. Obermok’s desire to take responsibility for his actions.

Weber had asked the court for a conditional sentence - house arrest - of 12 to 18 months. The crown asked for four to six years in prison.

The sentence:

Justice Pratt took Obermok’s “limited” criminal record, injuries and remorse into account when crafting his sentence.

However, the aggravating factors appeared to outweigh them.

“Mr. Obermok chose to drink and get behind the wheel of his vehicle,” Justice Pratt wrote. “In his own statement in court, Mr. Obermok said he didn’t know why he didn’t stop. The only reasonable inference available to be drawn is that he was at least somewhat under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision.”

Justice Pratt sentenced Obermok to five years in prison and a 15-year ban on driving in Ontario, concurrent on both counts. Top Stories

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