Fuel truck driver sentenced

Conditional sentence, prohibition from driving and 200 hours of community service at local fisheries among punishments.

James Allan Charles Smith has been sentenced after pleading guilty to two charges associated his crashing of a Columbia Fuels truck in Goldstream Park on April 16

James Charles Allan Smith has been sentenced to a conditional sentence, is prohibited from driving and will be performing 200 hours of community service at local fisheries.

The sentence handed down Monday, Sept. 24 came after Smith pleaded guilty to two charges related to his crashing of a Columbia Fuel truck on April 16, 2011. The crash spilled 42,700 litres of fuel into Goldstream River.

On the criminal count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, the judge sentenced Smith to a conditional sentence of three months, plus nine months of probation. The conditional sentence includes a daily curfew of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and an order to not drink or possess any alcohol.

Smith is also required to attend any counselling ordered by his supervisor, which could include alcohol abuse counselling.

Charges of driving while impaired were dropped once Smith pleaded guilty to the other charges. After the accident Smith was found to have three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.

Smith has also been prohibited from driving for one year from the date of the sentencing.

Smith’s lawyer, Dale Marshall, said the sentence is one he and Crown council both recommended.

Smith is relieved to be moving forward and is ready to tackle the underlying personal issues that led to the crash, Marshall said.

“It’s been a tough year and a half for him to acknowledge that his state of depression and alcohol use is such that he put a lot of people lives at risk, including his own,” Marshall said.

“He’s relieved that there wasn’t any worse damage, that nobody was hurt. … He’s doing his level best to get his life back in order.”

In response to Smith’s guilty plea to the charge under the Fisheries Act of depositing gasoline and diesel into water frequented by fish, Smith is sentenced to complete 200 hours of community service. The judge ordered that work to be carried out in the field of conservation of fish habitat and the management of fisheries in the waters in and around Vancouver Island.

“The court took into account, among other things, his personal financial circumstance,” said Crown’s spokesman Neil MacKenzie. “As opposed to imposing a fine it imposed a substantial number of community work hours.”

Smith is also on probation for 18 months in relation to the environmental charge.


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