Five-year jail term for impaired driving crash that killed Elgin County man
It was a horrific crash scene which claimed a young life. Now the man responsible for that crash has been sentenced to jail time.
Friends and family clustered around Scott and Sherri Houston as they left the Elgin County Courthouse in St. Thomas, moments after their son, Joshua, was sentenced to five years in jail for impaired driving causing death.
Joshua's lawyer, Jim Dean, says, "It's a fair sentence. It's what we expected actually."
The collision happened on Dec. 8, 2018 near the intersection of John Wise Line and Springwater Road, southeast of Aylmer, Ont.
Ontario Provincial Police determined that the pickup Houston was driving was travelling up to 140 km/h when it hit the ditch, launched into the air and struck a tree.
His passenger, 25-year-old Spencer Dyck, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say Joshua had approximately twice the legal blood-alcohol limit, along with marijuana and cocaine in his system.
He pleaded guilty in May to the single count of impaired driving causing death.
Dean says Joshua, now 26, is genuinely remorseful, "He wants to make Spencer's parents proud that he's done something with his life. That he hasn't just continued to make poor choices. So he wants to show that he's learned from it."
Joshua's sister, Tara, died when she was seven years old of brain stem glioma; a tumour that forms where the brain and spinal cord meet.
Her parents launched the Tara “Boom” Houston Foundation in her name to support families of children with terminal illness.
Dean says Joshua wasn’t much older than his sister when she died and "He went through the loss of his sister.
"There was much focus in the family on that loss and building a foundation to help others who are dealing with a terminally ill child. Josh? We question whether he's actually ever dealt with that."
The five-year jail term was in line with the Crown attorney's request. Upon his release from jail, Houston will also face a 10-year driving prohibition.
Dyck's family wasn’t immediately available for comment.