June 14th, 2024

Accused in Coalhurst drunk driving death seeks release


By Lethbridge Herald on January 21, 2022.

Delon Shurtz

LETHBRIDGE HERALD

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A southern Alberta man charged in relation to a drunk driving death more than two years ago, and who has been sitting in remand at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre for 16 months, hopes to be released on bail while his matters continue to make their way through court.

Wesley Brian Phillips will have to wait until next week, however, before he finds out if he’ll be released.

Judge Kristen Ailsby reserved her decision until Jan. 28, following a lengthy bail hearing Wednesday in Lethbridge provincial court, during which Calgary lawyer Kim Ross told the judge Phillips’ sister would be willing to post $1,000 surety for his release.

Evidence presented during the bail hearing cannot be reported under a court-ordered publication ban.

Phillips, who elected last March to be tried by a judge and jury in Court of Queen’s Bench, faces charges of impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death, failure to provide a breath sample following an accident causing death, and breach of probation, stemming from a fatal car collision Nov. 25, 2019.

At about 7:15 p.m. a white VW Jetta westbound on Highway 3 collided with a red Ford Escape that was stopped at a stop sign on 51 Avenue in the Town of Coalhurst where it intersects with the highway. Betty Ment, 66, who was the lone occupant of the Ford, died in the collision. The driver of the VW was taken to Chinook Regional Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A preliminary hearing for Phillips was scheduled to run this month, but it was canceled after the Crown filed a direct indictment, which will send Phillips directly to trial without first having a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is normally held to determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial.

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