October 21st, 2020

Man guilty of impaired driving causing bodily harm


By Shurtz, Delon on July 9, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A southern Alberta man who struck and injured two people in another vehicle while he was drunk driving on a highway north of Raymond two years ago, is set to be sentenced later this fall.

Ryan Christopher Hartwick pleaded guilty this week in Lethbridge provincial court to two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm, but his sentencing hearing was adjourned until Oct. 28 to allow time for the preparation of a pre-sentence report and psychological assessment.

Crown prosecutor Michael Fox told court Hartwick was driving north on Highway 845 at about 11:30 p.m. June 24, 2018, when he drove into the opposing lane as he approached Highway 4 and collided with another car, injuring the driver and passenger.

A witness told police he was travelling about six car lengths behind the victim’s vehicle and saw Hartwick’s car, which appeared to be going too fast as it approached a curve in the road, cross the road and strike the other vehicle. Another witness also saw Hartwick’s vehicle veer into the other lane and hit the Chrysler Pacifica minivan head-on.

The driver of the minivan could not remember Hartwick’s car hitting her.

“(She) told police she recalled seeing a car coming toward her in her lane, and braking to try to avoid it, but did not recall seeing the car hit her, although she remembered her air bags going off,” Fox said.

Hartwick told police he had consumed “five beers total” while he was in Raymond, the last of which he drank about 30 minutes before the accident. Medical personnel at the Chinook Regional Hospital took samples of Hartwick’s blood, which showed the amount of alcohol in his blood to be nearly three times the legal limit.

“It is alleged and admitted that on the 24th day of June 2018, while operating a motor vehicle in Alberta, Hartwick caused an accident resulting in bodily harm … and that at the time Hartwick had consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in Hartwick’s blood exceeded 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood,” Fox said.

Fox said the driver and passenger of the mini van suffered multiple injuries and were taken by ambulance to the hospital. Hartwick was also taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries.

Hartwick had originally pleaded not guilty to several charges, and during his trial challenged the warrant used to seize blood samples. The judge ruled the blood analysis admissable, and the hearing was adjourned to set dates to continue the trial. During the adjournment however, defence decided to change pleas.

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