It is the description Carl Lentz used for Frank Tamok, the 73-year-old Keremeos man who will now sit behind bars for nearly seven years for killing Lentz’s son, Bradley Lentz, last July long weekend in Penticton.
Tamok, whose blood alcohol content was nearly two-and-a-half times over the legal limit, wreaked havoc on the road on July 3, 2011, crashing into a number of vehicles on the Channel Parkway and Skaha Lake Road.
Crown counsel Jeff Dyment asked for a five-and-a-half to seven-year sentence on the lead charge of criminal negligence causing death. Judge Wilfred Klinger handed down an eight-year sentence, leaving Tamok just under seven years to serve after getting 382 days credit for the time he has served prior to sentencing.
Tamok also received four years for criminal negligence causing bodily harm and 18 months for failure to stop at the scene of an accident, all of which will be served concurrent with his eight-year sentence. The Keremeos man also was given a 15-year prohibition from operating any motor vehicle.
“I am happy with the judge’s decision,” said Carl Lentz. “I hope it may save somebody else’s life and give the courts more leverage for future cases.”
Tamok had reached estimated speeds of 100 km/h, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic with part of his crumpled hood obscuring his vision. He drove through a red light and eventually rammed into the back of a GMC Jimmy, launching it into the air.
The Jimmy, which 32-year-old Bradley Lentz was a passenger in, came crashing down on the front end of a truck and landed upside down on the shoulder of the road near Wright’s Campground where his family was vacationing from Alberta. Family members rushed to the scene but Bradley Lentz was killed instantly. His wife, Nancy Lentz, who was driving the vehicle, suffered severe injures. The couple had gone to the store to pick up items for a family dinner they had planned that day.
In her victim impact statement read in court earlier this month, she described her life as “shattered.” The couple had just moved back to Canada after living in Australia for three years and this was the first time they were visiting with their family.
“I saw Brad, his face expressionless. Small bubbles formed around his lips and I knew he was gone. I knew then that I had lost my husband. I did not want to believe it but I knew. I remember screaming his name, squeezing his hand and being hysterical,” said Lentz in the statement.
“I did not want to leave him there because I knew I would not see him again. But I was removed from the vehicle and I would never see my husband alive again.”
She added that it as if a bomb has gone off in her life.
“Everything is destroyed and I have nothing. Emotional, financial and physical devastation are my reality and my love is gone, forever,” read the victim impact statement.
Tamok acknowledged in his pre-sentence report that he has a problem with alcohol and promised he would never drink again. The Keremeos man had four prior impaired driving charges, and on the day of the incident he had been visiting his wife whom he is separated from.
“At every turn, the accused failed to operate his motor vehicle in a reasonable and prudent manner. His decisions and subsequent conduct were the exact opposite of what should be expected by persons driving a motor vehicle on public roadways,” said Judge Klinger.
Tamok remained stoic during all the proceedings and claims he does not remember any of the accident. He only expressed remorse in his pre-sentence report, stating he wished he had died instead.
“This surely is one of the most extreme examples of criminal negligence in the operation of motor vehicle,” said Klinger.
The Lentz family showed up to court on Thursday wearing brightly coloured T-shirts with the words B-Rad Foundation printed on them. It is a project they are working on to provide a scholarship in honour of the Devon, Alta. man. So far, they have raised $35,000, with a goal of raising $50,000 by February.
Updates can be found on Facebook by searching B-Rad Foundation.