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Smithers man sentenced to two years in jail for impaired driving causing death

A two-years-plus-a-day jail sentence has been given to a man who pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death.

Ashton Michael Lewis was also sentenced to six months in jail for leaving the scene of an accident and six months in jail for driving while prohibited for the crash, in Smithers, that claimed the life of Taylor Blomquist on June 9, 2018.

According to the ruling by Justice J.T. Doulis, at about 10:45 p.m. that night Lewis was driving his VW Passat down Railway Avenue in Smithers. He had with him two passengers, Keegan Leiterman and Taylor Blomquist. Leiterman was sitting in the front passenger seat; Blomquist was in the back seat. He was intoxicated and not wearing a seatbelt.

Lewis was driving at a high rate of speed. He was also impaired by alcohol by a concentration of at least 145 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, according to the judge’s ruling.

Lewis failed to negotiate the sharp turn where Railway Avenue turns into Pacific Avenue. His vehicle rolled over and ended up in the south ditch. Blomquist was ejected from the vehicle. He died at the scene as a result of injuries he sustained in the accident. He was only 20 years old.

After the accident, Lewis and Leiterman tried to hide the beer cans which had been in the vehicle.

Lewis fled the scene and Leiterman remained behind with Blomquist. Police arrested Lewis at his home.

Lewis was 22 years old at the time of the crash.

“He grew up in circumstances no child should have to endure,” wrote Justice Doullis. “His mother was a drug addict. Mr. Lewis was apprehended by the Ministry of Child and Family Services when his mother abandoned him in a crack shack. When he was in Grade 6, Mr. Lewis’ mother introduced him to alcohol and street drugs. This kindled Mr. Lewis’ addictions which have ensnared him in a lifestyle in which his mother was deeply entrenched. By the time he was 21, Mr. Lewis was drinking steadily. He acknowledges he has serious addiction issues.

“Mr. Lewis’s father evinced hatred towards him and threw Mr. Lewis out of the house. Mr. Lewis left school and began working at 14 years old. Although he has worked steadily since then, Mr. Lewis still managed to complete his schooling and graduate from Grade 12.

“Mr. Lewis sought and continues to seek treatment for his medical, emotional, psychological and addiction issues. He has been diagnosed with ADHD, depression and mood disorders. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of experiences which pre-date the incident giving rise to the offences to which he pled guilty.”

In addition to his jail sentences, to be served concurrently, Lewis is prohibited from operating any motor vehicle for six years, he must submit a DNA sample,  and is prohibited from possessing any firearm, other than a prohibited firearm or restricted firearm, and any crossbow, restricted weapon, ammunition and explosive substance for a period of 10 years; and any prohibited firearm, restricted firearm, prohibited weapon, prohibited device and prohibited ammunition for life.

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