Frank Tamok was found guilty of causing an accident that killed a man in Penticton last Canada Day long weekend.
The 73-year-old Keremeos man showed little emotion as Judge Wilfred Klinger read his decision at the Penticton provincial courthouse on Friday, finding Tamok guilty of criminal negligence causing death, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failure to stop at the scene of an accident.
Klinger said the evidence showed that Tamok had a “marked and substantiated departure of a reasonable driver” on July 3, 2011.
During the four-day trial, that started on Tuesday, the court heard Tamok’s blood alcohol level was more than double the limit as he crashed into eight vehicles starting near the intersection of Channel Parkway and Skaha Lake Road and ending when his vehicle finally came to rest in the westbound lanes on Skaha Lake Road near Wright’s Beach campground.
“I find the Crown proved his guilt beyond all reasonable doubt,” said Klinger.
The judge said it is not any shock that Penticton during the long weekend has a spotted history from riots, fatal traffic collisions and tragic mishaps.
“July 3, 2011 was unfortunately no exception,” said Klinger.
During the trial, witnesses testified that a white Kia driven by Tamok came to an abrupt stop after driving erratically southbound on the Channel Parkway. This caused one woman to rear-end him. Tamok accelerated away from the accident, rear-ending a Jeep waiting to turn right onto Skaha Lake Road at a red light. The driver of the Jeep, who happened to be an RCMP officer on vacation in Penticton, said he could feel the white Kia accelerating and was eventually pushed around the corner from the force.
When the Kia that Tamok was driving became disengaged with the Jeep he then shot across the highway towards oncoming traffic violently hitting a truck and then glancing off the vehicle behind it.
Tamok then sped westbound on Skaha Lake Road and witnesses saw him weaving in-and-out of oncoming traffic. Tamok passed through the intersection at Airport Road, at what witnesses said appeared to be at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour, before he rammed into the back of a white GMC Jimmy heading west.
The force of that launched the Jimmy into the air and it came crashing down on the front end of eastbound truck before coming to rest upside down on the shoulder of the road. Bradley Lentz had been a passenger in the Jimmy, his wife Nancy Lentz was driving. He was killed instantly in the collision. His wife survived, as did the couple in the truck, but not without injuries and emotional trauma.
A date for Tamok’s sentencing was sent to be set by the Judicial Case Manager Friday afternoon.
For more on the judge’s decision and Lentz family reaction to the verdict see Wednesday’s Penticton Western News or check back at www.pentictonwesternnews.com.