Killer driver in Penticton crash had prior drunk-driving convictions

Victim impact statements read at sentence hearing for man at centre of Canada Day melee

Heart-wrenching victim impact statements from the family of Bradley Lentz were read before court in front of the man found guilty of causing his death.

“It’s as if a bomb has gone off in my life, everything is destroyed … My love is gone forever,” read the statement from Bradley’s widow Nancy Lentz.

Keremeos man Frank Tamok was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failure to stop at an accident that occurred last summer during the Canada Day long weekend near the Penticton airport.

“I still have trouble believing to this day what happened and that my child will never put his arms around me again and tell me he loves me,” said Bradley’s mother Judy Lentz.

Tamok listened intently to the statements but showed no emotion. His lawyer, James Pennington, relayed to Judge Wilfred Klinger that his client has genuine remorse for what happened, but still to this day does not recall the accidents.

“Mr. Tamok expressed to me that the nightmare of this incident is one that he lives with daily, one that will live with him for the rest of his life. He is truly remorseful for what happened to these people,” said Pennington, adding words cannot adequately express the grief and loss the Lentz family has suffered.

Pennington said his client made no attempt to minimize what happened, rather he wanted to hear all the evidence brought against him in trial because he could not recall the events. He said Tamok, 73, indicated he will never drive again.

After being found guilty in April, a pre-sentence report was ordered for Tamok. Details of it were released in court on Thursday, including his record. Dating from 1966 to 1990, Tamok was found guilty of four impaired driving charges and one for driving over .08. He also had three motor vehicle offences, all of which dealt with speeding. Crown counsel Jeff Dyment said Tamok had several opportunities to stop driving the day he killed Lentz, including the first impact where he was rear-ended by someone else.

“Had he done so, it would have prevented this terrible tragedy,” said Dyment, who told the court Tamok was driving with a blood alcohol level that was two-and-a-half times over the legal limit.

He said Tamok instead chose to carry on ramming his way through several vehicles at the channel parkway intersection, then causing the vehicle Lentz was a passenger in to flip and land on top of another vehicle before coming to a rest near Wright’s Beach campground.

Dyment told the court he is asking for a five-and-a-half to seven-year sentence on the criminal negligence causing death count, to run concurrent with three to four years on the bodily harm count, and consecutive to a 12 to 18-month term on the failure to stop count. Defence counsel is seeking a five-year prison term, less credit for time Tamok served during pre-trial custody, which is just days over one year. The defence is also seeking to have an exception to pre-trial credit for time served, which if was granted, would leave Tamok three-and-a-half years jail time remaining.

Judge Klinger is scheduled to return to court on July 19, when he will hand down his sentence.