Judge to hand down sentence in crash that killed football players

Associated Press

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. - A northern Alberta judge will hand down his sentence today for a young man convicted in a crash that left four high school football players dead and a fifth badly injured.

The Crown and defence have agreed Brenden Holubowich, 23, should receive a prison term of three years and a driving prohibition for another three years.

But Court of Queen's Bench Justice William Tilleman said Tuesday he needed time to think about whether it's an appropriate punishment.

Holubowich pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

His truck collided with a car carrying the five members of the Warriors football team from Grande Prairie Composite High School on October 22, 2011.

Court heard Holubowich had earlier been drinking with co-workers at a Grande Prairie bowling alley and was driving at speeds as high as 151 km/h on Highway 668 on the way home to the nearby town of Wembley.

The football players had just left a party outside the city. But within minutes their car and three others pulled off the highway and into the driveway of a nearby business. One by one, they all quickly made U-turns on the highway to go in the other direction.

Their car, the last to make the U-turn, was struck as it straddled the centre line.

Walter Borden-Wilkins and Tanner Hildebrand, both 15, and Matthew Deller and Vince Stover, both 16, were killed. Zach Judd, now 17, was pulled from the wreckage.

Holubowich never stopped to see if the boys were OK or call 911. He ran on foot to his workplace, an oilfield transportation company, where RCMP found him an hour later.

Judd testified Tuesday that he often thinks about suicide since the crash, adding the fact he was the only one to survive makes him angry and depressed.

He spent 11 days in a coma suffering from a severe brain injury and said he had to learn how to walk and talk again. He said he has permanently lost hearing in one ear and it affects his balance.

Relatives of the four dead teens all said that three years would be an inadequate sentence.

The teenagers were the responsible ones that night. Autopsy results show the boy driving the car, Matthew, had no alcohol or drugs in his system.

Holubowich read a statement to court in which he said he did not expect forgiveness but he hoped the families could accept his apology.

"I would give anything to change the outcome of that night. I am truly very sorry."

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